(LEAD) Yoon to appoint new broadcasting watchdog chief despite controversy

President Yoon Suk Yeol will appoint the new chief of the state broadcasting watchdog Friday, his office said, despite controversy over his son's alleged bullying and suspicions he exercised undue influence over media firms.

Yoon approved the appointment of Lee Dong-kwan, a former journalist who served as a senior secretary for press affairs during the Lee Myung-bak administration, as head of the Korea Communications Commission, his office said in a notice to the press.

The decision comes despite objections from the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) over allegations Lee exercised undue influence in personnel affairs at state broadcaster KBS when he was serving as a press affairs official at the presidential office from 2008-2011.

Lee also came under attack over allegations that his son bullied fellow students in high school in 2011.

The nominee underwent a parliamentary confirmation hearing but the National Assembly failed to adopt a hearing report due to the DP's objections.

By law, the president can go ahead with the appointment if the Assembly fails to adopt a hearing report even after he requests it by a given deadline. In Lee's case, the deadline was Thursday.

Lee will be the 16th Cabinet-level official to be appointed without parliamentary consent under the current administration.

The appointment ceremony will be held at the presidential office later Friday.

The main opposition Democratic Party (DP) denounced Yoon's decision, saying it laid bare Yoon's "ulterior intention to make broadcasting stations and media firms praise the administration."

"It amounts to admitting by himself that fairness, common sense and justice that the president has called for so far were all fake and deception," Rep. Kim Han-kyu, a DP spokesperson, said in a statement.

The ruling People Power Party defended Yoon's decision, saying Lee is the right person to protect important values of the press and normalize public broadcasting, which it described to have been one-sided for a while.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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