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 VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Kurdish service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions 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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs