&#91EDITORIALS&#93'No' to more hours of TV

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[EDITORIALS]'No' to more hours of TV

The Korea Broadcasting Commission announced last week that it will meet Monday to discuss whether to extend the transmission hours of over-the-air television broadcasters, KBS 1 and 2, MBC and SBS. The broadcasting hours now run from 6 a.m. to noon and from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. the next day. The proposal is for a three-hour extension in March; that is when the new television season starts. The proposal also would allow over-the-air broadcasters to expand to 24-hour broadcasting a year from March. Should the commission decide in favor of the extension, it would hold a public hearing on Jan. 28 before setting out the details of the plan.

The proposal to extend the broadcasting hours was made by the Korean Broadcasters Association, which is looking for more self-regulation.

Self-regulation means working according to one's own principles. It requires a high level of competence and responsibility. Unfortunately, our broadcasters have so far failed to demonstrate that they have reached that level.

The four broadcasters are all failing to meet the expectations of viewers. Hankook Research, a research firm, recently announced the results of a survey commissioned by KBS on viewer satisfaction with television program quality. In the survey of program satisfaction, KBS1 scored 74 out of 100 and KBS2 70. MBC, in which the government control is less direct, also scored 70. The only commercial broadcaster, SBS, scored 69. Those are disappointingly low grades. No matter what their ownership, the stations have let an obsession with ratings lead them to poor-quality programs catering to the senses rather than to common sense. Then when a show becomes popular, the others copy it.

Extending broadcasting hours would only mean more degradation of television program quality. Without an improvement of quality, an extension would only profit the broadcasters and bring more misery to the viewers.
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