[EDITORIALS]Fair reporting for allThe Blue House has published “A White Paper on Inaccurate Information,” which was carried by Korean newspapers while the presidential transition team was in place. The presidential office said that the paper was published “to correct an incorrect media’s practice of carrying distorted and exaggerated information, which is a chronic shortcoming of the Korean press.” Since the media must guard against and reflect on incorrect information so as not to lose the confidence of readers, the paper could be useful for the media in providing a mirror image. In order to serve that purpose, however, the paper should satisfy the condition that its contents are fair and based on facts. However, the paper includes cases that do not satisfy the above condition. The paper has brought criticism that the Blue House has interpreted press reports in a distorted and exaggerated way.
For example, articles on the “Fair Trade Commission’s law enforcement power,” and an “Introduction to a system requiring big businesses to separate their financial arms,” are classified as speculative, but are also found in the white paper that the transition team has published as its accomplishments. Was the transition team’s paper also an incorrect report? News articles on the enlarged presidential secretariat were criticized as incorrect because some presidential commissions are not part of the secretariat but directly under the president. That information does nothing but blur the picture with unnecessary details. Even a photo showing the spokeswoman turning her face is termed “intentional.” While most newspapers reported on the same topics, only some were singled out as violators. Not a single incorrect report was made by the broadcast or Internet media, according to the white paper, bringing its impartiality into question.
The primary responsibility of incorrect information rests with the media. But the government must cooperate with the press to provide correct information to the public. The transition team barred reporters from entering their offices and evaded interviews. The government should try to secure the media’s right to have access to news sources instead of trying to find faults with the press, if it wants to prevent incorrect information.