South Korea appears to be engaged in another internal war, while confronting the belligerent North across the heavily fortified demilitarised zone. The latest conflict is an ideological battle between the conservatives and the liberals. It started when Kim Dae-jung, a lifetime campaigner for democracy and human rights, came to power in 1998. Five years later, his successor, Roh Moo-hyun, is waging an even keener battle against the conservative old-guard and the establishment to wipe out the legacies of past authoritarian regimes. This has paved the way for conflicts within the country's media. On one side, progressive broadcasting networks are firmly behind Mr Roh's reform agenda. The mostly government-owned networks are led by equally liberal executives appointed by Mr Roh. On the other side are the conservative major newspapers, owned by rich families, which are against any government attempts to break up the status quo. The media tension peaked during coverage of a Korean-German scholar, who recently returned for the first time in nearly four decades. Song Du-yul had been barred from entering because of his pro-North Korean activities against Seoul's National Security Law. The ban was relaxed following inter-Korean rapprochement under liberal presidents. However, investigations by the authorities into his past after he arrived back in South Korea revealed that he was a staunch North Korean sympathiser who had even wept in public when the North's founder, Kim Il-sung, died in 1994. KBS and other broadcast networks had portrayed him as a patriot with conscience. But that was far from the truth. Newspapers were quick to attack not only Professor Song, but also the broadcasters, saying they had misled viewers. Opposition party members even demanded the dismissal of KBS president Chung Yun-ju, a longtime dissident journalist. Nobody knows how this unprecedented media war will unfold. Given Korea's divided nature these days, however, the conflict will not go away anytime soon. That means television will continue its liberal line, while newspapers will become more conservative. Meanwhile, ordinary citizens will be the losers, as the two sides' biased views further polarise people's opinion. Already split from the North, the South is now heading for a further division inside its own territory.