Parliamentary debate over the relaxation of media ownership rules in South Korea descended into fisticuffs today, AFP reports. After negotiations stalled, the ruling conservative Grand National Party moved to vote on the reform, which will allow newspapers to own a greater stake of television media. In response, MPs of the opposition Democratic Party attempted to physically block the vote, and a brawl ensued.
The bill was eventually passed by the GNP, which holds 169 of the 299 seats in Parliament, but not before dozens of lawmakers were injured, one seriously enough to be hospitalized. One of the bills passed allows newspapers to own 10% of a broadcast channel, and 30% of a cable channel. The GNP argues that the reform will create jobs and encourage competition. Interestingly, North Korea weighed in on the debate, calling the GNP push a “traitors' scheme to railroad the evil bill.” (Read more South Korea stories.)