In fact, I am not sure if “satirizing” is the right expression. Last December, Gag Concert [개그 콘서트]–a comedic television show–had a vignette in which a comedian declared to the president-elect:
“The new president-elect Park Geun-hye, ma’am, listen up. Hope you keep all those campaign promises, the promises for ordinary folks, for businesses, for students, all of them. But just don’t do one thing. Comedy. Don’t do any comedy. There’s nothing for us to do. Why do you make people laugh so much? We’ll do all the funny stuff here, so focus on taking care of the country. If you really want to make people laugh, do that on Gag Concert.” [“이번에 대통령이 된 박근혜님, 잘 들어. 당신이 얘기했듯이 서민들을 위한 정책, 기업들을 위한 정책, 학생들을 위한 정책, 그 수많은 정책들 잘 지키길 바란다. 하지만 한 가지는 절대 하지 마라. 코미디. 코미디는 하지 마. 우리가 할 게 없어. 왜 이렇게 웃겨. 국민들 웃기는 건 우리가 할 테니까. 나랏일에만 신경 쓰기 바랍니다. 그리고 진짜 웃기고 싶으면 ‘개콘’에 나와서 웃기든지.”]
In shock of shocks (sarcasm,) Korea Communications Standards Commission censured the program by issuing an “administrative guidance” [행정지도], a punishment that is a step lower than legal action. KCSC announced that it was not a proper political satire to lecture the president-elect who did not yet began governing, or to use banmal to address the president-elect. (To this, chairman of the YTN union cracked: “I heard PSY will perform at the inauguration. He’s going to point at the president and sing, ‘Yes, you.’ Are they going to arrest him on the spot for using banmal to the president?”)
This censure is another instance of the government’s commandeering of Korean media, which began in earnest when MBC’s PD Notebook nearly derailed Lee Myeong-bak’s presidency in the Mad Cow Disease protests. During his term, Lee Myeong-bak administration oversaw the firing or demotion of nearly 200 journalists who were critical to the government, sparking a strike at KBS, MBC and YTN that lasted for several months last year.