SPC Group Chairman Hur Young-in speaks at the group's head office in Seoul. Courtesy of SPC Group

Did SPC Group try to tame cash-hungry media outlets?

A journalist in Korean daily Kyunghyang Shinmun recently wrote an article about a Korean company. Then, the company’s senior official called the Kyunghyang CEO.

The former asked the latter to kill the article in return for advertisement money. The latter did so. In protest of the measure, however, the journalist who wrote the article quit.

Then the journalists’ association of the newspaper made a strong appeal, which prompted the Kyunghyang CEO to tender resignation.

To apologize to its readers, the association also came up with a public announcement, although it did not specify the company’s name.

The identity of the firm at issue remains unknown to pique the curiosity of people. Then, an independent journalist claims that it is a local conglomerate called SPC Group.

He is Lee Sang-ho, a former reporter for MBC. He became a household name in the mid-2000s after reporting Samsung Group’s bribery suspicions in time with the 1997 presidential election.

After leaving MBC in the early 2010s, he established an online news outlet.

Lee made the revelation during his YouTube broadcast.

SPC Group owns such well-known brands as Paris Baguette, a popular bakery franchise. It also runs Baskin-Robbins, Dunkin’ Donuts and New York burger house Shake Shack in Korea.

Lee did not elaborate on what the article is about. He said that he had tried to contact the Kyunghyang writer to no avail.

The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at voc200@gmail.com or 82-2-6956-6698.