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Broadcast Media Must Be Fair and Rational
The manner in which the broadcast media is covering the impeachment issue is quite unsettling and worrisome. If you just listen to the radio or watch TV, you'd think the while country was bordering on anarchy. Some program hosts or their invited guests have spewed provocative statements from start to finish, and they are giving one the impression that they are almost begging for chaos.

Broadcast media in developed nations make it a hard and fast rule to report natural disasters like earthquakes and floods in a cool, objective manner. This is because it's only though such reporting that citizens can respond calmly, avoid making the situation worse and minimize losses.

Especially in times when national opinion is divided, like now with the impeachment issue, one agitated word from a program host becomes countless Molotov Cocktails and can call down disaster on a national scale. From that perspective, our broadcast media, be it state-owned or private, TV or radio, needs to immediately correct their attitudes.

Not just news reports, but debate and current events programs, and even music, comedy, and entertainment shows seem like they're inciting mass action through their use of provocative words that agitate the people. It's an attitude that's extremely dangerous and greatly deviates from the role broadcast media must play.

Publicly owned broadcast media, which collects viewer fees from the citizens and is entrusted with broadcast rights, ought to take the lead in demanding citizens respond in a rational manner in a neutral, impartial manner. But if you have been watching or listening to the state media these last couple of days, it's obvious that anchors and commentators — who are supposed to bring balance to reports — are instead tossing aside balance, pushing people in one direction and trying to rock society.

At times like this, you've got to ask yourself what's the point in maintaining state-owned media through taxes, and why does an independent media exist if it's going to get swept away in all of this.

We must now keep in mind that it's not just the politicians who are being tested, but the entire nation, and TV and radio broadcasters must immediately reassume rational attitudes. If broadcast media gets hung up on becoming spokespeople for one side in a political conflict, you never know if political forces will then engage in a naked battle for control of those broadcasts. If that happens, it might as well be the end of state-ended media.

The above article is from March 14, 2004 Chosun Ilbo Editorial






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