MBC suspends producers for breaching ethics
Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation will suspend the producers of PD Notebook for violating journalistic ethics in the process of making a documentary questioning the authenticity of stem cell celebrity Hwang Woo-suk’s results.
The broadcaster said yesterday it had decided to suspend the producers Choi Seung-ho and Han Hak-soo and the details of their disciplinary punishment will be decided on Friday at an internal board meeting.
Previously, PD Notebook claimed the customized cloned embryonic stem cells may have been fabricated and that the DNA of one cell did not match that of its donor’s.
A Sunday report made by television news channel YTN, however, showed interviews with former co-researchers saying the producers threatened them to say things unfair to Dr. Hwang.
Despite MBC’s measures, political circles are still highly critical of the recent events related to the reporting and urged the broadcasting commission to be more strict in managing and auditing broadcasting companies.
“The broadcasting commission should swiftly review whether or not PD Notebook violated broadcasting laws and take appropriate measures,” said Uri Party lawmaker Jee Byung-moon.
Choung Byoung-gug of the Grand National Party pointed out that various “disasters” have occurred at MBC since the appointment of President Choi Moon-soon. “Like some media have criticized, the producers of PD Notebook were cooperating with MBC’s president and while they all expected problems to occur, they overlooked any preview procedures,” he said.
Lawmakers also launched a group to support Dr. Hwang yesterday. Composed initially of 42 members from several political parties, the legislators said they would try to help Dr. Hwang by creating constitutional and legal guidelines so the scientist can focus on his studies.
Meanwhile, at Seoul National University, women pledging to donate their ova for research purposes left bouquets of mugunghwa, or rose of sharon ― Korea’s national flower ― for the scientist with letters of encouragement. The gesture was an extension of one occurring online on Hwang fan sites where women volunteering to be donors are represented as mugunghwa flowers.
Dr. Hwang, however, was not present to receive the flowers as he is reportedly in poor health. Quoting Dr. Hwang’s personal physician and colleague Curie Ahn, National Intelligence Agency official Kim Chang-ho said yesterday in a cabinet briefing that Dr. Hwang is suffering from a stomach ulcer and that his physical condition is worse than that of mere flu symptoms.
by Special Reporting Team