By Bae Ji-sook
State-funded broadcaster KBS denied Wednesday allegations that it has blacklisted some liberal entertainers, banning them from appearing on its programs.
The station again vowed stern measures against rumormongers, saying it had filed a defamation suit against comedienne-turned-TV hostess Kim Mi-hwa
for "spreading groundless rumors" a day earlier.
Cho Dae-hyun, vice president of KBS, held a press conference saying, "There is no such thing as a blacklist and there shouldn't be. Hiring certain panelists or hosts for programs is totally up to the program directors".
Cho's remarks came after Kim claimed Tuesday that she had heard she had been tacitly banned from being on KBS programs because she had been blacklisted by management.
What KBS-call conspiracy theory snowballed when many Internet users mentioned singer Yoon Don-hyun and TV show host Kim Je-dong
, who were both dismissed by KBS after showing up at liberal gatherings. Some speculated that KBS was trying to curry favor with the current conservative administration by giving the cold shoulder to liberals. Kim, one of the most visible liberal entertainers, was one of the targets, they claimed.
However, Cho refuted this. "Kim hosted one of our book-reading shows in 2006, but was not hired on a regular basis. However, she had been on several other programs up to April", he said.
KBS filed its complaint against Kim for libel and defamation with the Yeongdeungpo Police Station Tuesday.
Rep. Ko Heung-kil of the ruling Grand National Party denounced Kim Wednesday. "She must take full responsibility if all allegations turn out to be false", he said.
Still, liberal celebrities supported her. Progressive culture critique Chin Jung-kwon twitted that he was also on the blacklist. "A source told me that the KBS management scrapped one shows because I was in it. I believe Kim", he said.
Actor Moon Sung-keun
tweeted, "The solution is simple for KBS: Hire Kim Mi-hwa
and prove us wrong".