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

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

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.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid