News / Asia

    Hit South Korean Podcast Sparks Controversy

    South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak (file photo)
    South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak (file photo)
    Jason Strother

    A South Korean online radio show is one of the most downloaded programs on the Internet. It is a political satire that makes fun of President Lee Myung bak and criticizes many of his policies. But some observers say it crosses the line between comedy and conspiracy. From Seoul, reporter Jason Strother tells us more about it.

    Nanun Ggom Su Da debuted earlier this year and has attracted a huge following in South Korea. The weekly podcast, which in English translates roughly as “I’m a Petty Minded Creep,” gets about two million downloads on the Apple iTunes network. The show mixes comedy with politics. And its sarcasm is apparent as soon as you hit play.

    President Lee Myung Bak is the “Petty Minded Creep” of the show’s title. The four hosts of Na Ggom Su, as its known for short, lampoon the leader, referring to him mostly as "his highness". They say they deliver news that is not covered by the nation’s conservative media.

    Recently the show’s creators held a news conference in Seoul. One of the men, Chung Bong-ju, a former lawmaker from the opposition Democratic Party, says that too many young Koreans have become apathetic to the nation’s politics. He says in Korean society, politicians are not trusted.  He says young people are not interested and only conservative people end up voting, because they do not see how politics affect their lives.  That is why he wants to popularize politics and shed a new light on it, he says.

    The show’s rare political humor is one reason why so many listeners download the program.

    Baek Ji-Min says that is why she became hooked on Na Ggom Su. The 39-year-old says before she started listening to the show, she did not care about what was happening in the South Korean government.

    “They make fun of the leader of this country - that’s so not common, she said. "It’s so funny but later I really got into the content itself, I learned so many things from the show.”

    Kim Young-chul, a politics professor at Busan University, says, given Korea’s current political climate, it is not surprising Na Ggom Su has become popular so quickly.

    Kim says many Koreans feel left out of the political process. Na Ggom Su tries to speak on behalf of those people.  He says the show has created the image that they are telling Koreans the truth about politics.

    But Kim says what Na Ggom Su says is the truth is more of a reflection of the show’s anti-conservative bias. Kim and other critics say the hosts sometimes cross the line between comedy and spreading conspiracies.

    A continuing theme throughout Na Ggom Su is how a recently ratified trade deal between South Korea and the U.S. directly benefits President Lee.

    Host Kim Ou-joon explains how the pieces all fit together. Kim says in the industries that are profiting from the free trade agreement there are a lot of people who are close or related to "his highness", President Lee.   He says, if that was not the case, Lee would not have pushed for the FTA’s ratification.

    Analyst Kim Young-chul says while Na Ggom Su has won many fans with its reporting of alleged government wrong doing, he does not feel the show alone will impact national elections in 2012.

    Kim says Na Ggom Su’s political bias pretty much appeals to those who already share their ideals. He doubts that their message will sway voters enough next year during the National Assembly or presidential elections.

    But Na Ggom Su’s reports have created legal problems for the show’s hosts.

    They have been indicted for spreading rumors during October’s race for Seoul mayor.  One of the show's creators has had his passport application rejected because of an ongoing lawsuit brought on by Lee Myung Bak himself.

    Na Ggom Su creator Kim Ou-joon says the show's creators will not be intimidated by lawsuits. He says the show will go on, at least until President Lee is no longer in office.

    He says they will only be here for a moment, after the next presidential election they will just go away.

    Kim promises that when President Lee’s term in office expires in February 2013, the jokes about him also will end.

    You May Like

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora