MBC President stops broadcasting of PD Notebook
By Lee Hyo-sik
MBC TV’s investigative journal “PD Notebook” said in a press release Tuesday that the government is still seeking to turn the ongoing four river refurbishment project into the construction of a grand canal project. But the government strongly denied the allegations.
The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs filed an injunction with the court to ban the airing of an investigative program critical of the four-river refurbishment project, arguing that the program spreads false information about one of President Lee Myung-bak’s major development schemes.
The court rejected the application.
PD Notebook planned to air, ``The Secret Behind the 6-meter Depth of the Four Rivers’’ Tuesday night.
But its president Kim Jae-chul ordered its suspension just hours before the planned broadcast, MBC officials said.
According to the press release, the government formed a special task force to draw a plan to revive the nation’s four major rivers _ the Han, Nakdong, Geum and Yeongsan _ between September and December 2008.
It said two officials were dispatched to the team from Cheong Wa Dae, with the remaining members coming from the ministry. ``The task force was set up only three months after President Lee publically gave up building the nationwide waterway. Cheong Wa Dae officials involved in the task force were all members of the so-called Yeongpo group, which has close ties to President Lee.’’
All of the members were raised in Yeongil and Pohang, two southeastern port cities. President Lee himself was born and raised in Pohang.
PD Notebook alleged the task force decided not to immediately push ahead with making the depths of four rivers deeper than 6 meters because it was politically risky to proceed with the initial plan, which is similar to the abandoned grand canal project.
``But the team had a plan to expand the scope of the four-river project to make the rivers over 6 meters deep. Additionally, we secured documents, proving that the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will begin a cruise project on the four rivers from 2012. It is interesting to see what significant amount of water, secured through the four-river scheme will be used for,’’ the investigative report said in a press release, indicating the ongoing project will eventually turn into the construction of a canal.
The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs dismissed PD Notebook’s assertion.
It said in a statement that the task force was created, made up of eight ministry officials, and there were no officials dispatched from Cheong Wa Dae.
``Because the four-river project requires diverse expertise and knowledge in dam construction, water systems and other related fields, we formed a ministry-wide team after receiving approval from the minister. A Cheong Wa Dae official took part in a task force meeting once or twice. But it was not about deciding how deep the rivers’ beds should be dug.’’
It said the depths of the four rivers and other technical issues were all finalized after listening to the opinions of private experts and through a series of public hearings.