[EDITORIALS]Criticizing media not wise

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[EDITORIALS]Criticizing media not wise

It is regrettable that the major political parties have recently taken an interventionist attitude toward the news media. While the Grand National Party accused some broadcasting companies of biased reporting, the Millennium Democratic Party has criticized some print media for carrying unfair reports. In a democratic country, political parties' intervention in the editing and reporting activities of broadcasting or print media infringes on freedom of the press.

The GNP has set up a committee to deal with biased news reports of broadcasting stations and has sent media organizations letters pointing out unbalanced reports and requesting fair and balanced reporting in the future. So far, this is acceptable. On the other hand, the MDP held a party executive members meeting Thursday and decided to consider holding an outdoor rally criticizing unbalanced reporting in some newspapers. In announcing it, the MDP's spokesman bluntly said, "Some newspapers have given up the role of being a public organ. Instead, they voluntarily play the role of being a GNP party organ." And the MDP lawmaker Bae Ki-sun is said to have accused the three major newspapers, JoongAng Ilbo, Chosun Ilbo and Dong-A Ilbo, of carrying news reports, photos and editorials favorable to the GNP, when they reported Wednesday's press meeting by both Lee Hoi-chang and Hahn Hwa-kap. Moreover, Mr. Hahn blatantly accused the newspapers of "playing tricks" and that "they have already lined up for the GNP."

The neutrality of the press to politics is self- evident. The duty of the press is showing people the right path through balanced criticism of politics and to lead public opinion. Judging news value and editing stories are jobs for the media. No outside power can suppress the media's rights. Those rights notwithstanding, a political party then questions the size of photos and the position of articles, and denounces papers that play tricks and line up for the opposition party. This is hardly a democratic party and reveals an ignorance of fundamental rights.

Since early this year, the JoongAng Ilbo has declared political neutrality in and out of the country. We observe political neutrality as the most important standard in news reports and comments. The press serves as the eyes of the people, regardless whether that benefits a party.
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