MBC's 'Real Story Eye' expresses disappointment at being depicted as abusers of power

An arrest warrant has been issued for MBC president Kim Jang-gyeom.

West Seoul's Supreme Prosecutors' Office issued an arrest warrant for MBC president Kim Jang-gyeom (in picture). youtube.com/SBS 뉴스 (SBS News)

MBC's 'Real Story Eye' program, which was criticised for secretly filming and then airing the funeral of actress Song Sun-mi's murdered husband, responded to media reports that they were abusing their power.

As noted by website Soompi, a statement released by Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation, abbreviated as MBC, read, "'Real Story Eye,' for the past three years and six months, has worked alongside outside production companies to create a current events program that upholds the public's interests and people's right to be informed. Because of this program's speed and depth of coverage, we do our best to prevent the various issues that may arise post-broadcast, and, more than any other program created through outside production, MBC has actively carried out pre-broadcast reviews for 'Real Story Eye.'"

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This quite formal defence of the broadcasting company was followed by addressing the controversy at hand, which was the abuse of power by MBC. The statement continued, "We feel deeply regretful that a certain group has denounced our efforts to pre-empt issues prior to broadcast by calling what we did 'unfair abuse of power.' Moreover, we find it very concerning that the situation was not confirmed with the production company in question or the CP in charge prior to reports; instead, one-sided claims were spread in the media."

As Soompi noted, the August 24 episode of MBC's 'Real Story Eye' had actually gone to secretly film actress Song Sun-mi's husband's funeral without her knowledge and the episode also showed the footage. The crew members of the programme then questioned the suspect and also filmed the actress crying at her husband's funeral. Viewers heavily criticised this move from MBC.

Regarding the funeral filming issue, MBC's statement read, "Recently, the controversy around the filming of the funeral of Song Sun Mi's husband was also reported on without the truth being confirmed with Song Sun Mi's side or the production company in question. The claims that MBC ordered the production company to film the funeral despite lack of permission and that MBC pushed the blame onto the production company are not true.

"Following the broadcast, MBC responded to viewer feedback that the footage was difficult to watch as well as Song Sun Mi's family's requests to take it down and immediately deleted the footage from reruns. MBC also expressed regret at what happened, taking every measure we could to appropriately respond to the situation."

The statement also adds, "Ahead of the MBC strike, we cannot help but to be suspicious of the intentions of the 'Real Story Eye' reports about abuse of power if their purpose is not to add fuel to the fire. We ask that everyone immediately stop the personal attacks and defaming remarks against the CP in charge."

As noted by news outlets earlier, various PDs from MBC have joined the general labour strike against MBC; protesting against the corruption within. Shows like 'Infinite Challenge' and 'I Live Alone' have been cancelled temporarily. The strike was called due to the discontent among MBC's PDs regarding strict censorship and biased regulations, Soompi noted. On 22 June, a petition was signed by 47 MBC PDs, calling for president of the company, Kim Jang-gyeom to step down.

On September 1, as reported by Allkpop, following a request by the National Media Labour Union, West Seoul's Supreme Prosecutors' Office issued an arrest warrant for the Kim Jang-gyeom. The warrant was issued after the MBC president was summoned three times by the labour union for questioning regarding the alleged corruption inside MBC, but refused to attend each time.

This article was first published on September 3, 2017