[EDITORIALS]No to Roh’s online paper planThe government has announced that it will start an online newspaper promoting government affairs. There is nothing wrong with its plan to set up an online form for its public relations in this cyber age. But we are concerned that this looks like an attempt to create a government medium to rebut and criticize any media coverage or editorials that it finds displeasing. The government seems to be driven by its distrust of the existing media.
The government already maintains official Web sites for all ministries and the Government Information Agency operates a site that links them all. It claims that these sites only provide basic information about its policies and in order to gauge public opinion it needs a medium similar to that of an online newspaper. Even if one accepts this explanation, it still sounds as if the government is claiming it is being under-appreciated because it has not been promoted properly. This problem could be solved simply by reinforcing the government ministries’ sites.
This raises the question of whether this proposed newspaper would provide objective information, or would foist on the public only biased material. Even now, the government shows little enthusiasm for the demands for information it is obliged to provide the public under the Information Act. The newspaper could become a medium for hiding what the government does not want to disclose and publicizing what it pleases.
This newspaper could cling to criticizing existing media, as do the Blue House brief-ings. Out of a thought that “the government has done nothing wrong, but the media are criticizing us for no reason,” or taking functional mistakes of the media as malicious attacks, the government can use it as a platform for attacks on the media.
The government needs to concentrate on making the right policies to overcome the nation’s difficulties. The government’s problems will not go away just because it wraps them in prettier packaging. The government should reconsider whether it is truly desirable that it even venture into the media field when it has so much to do already.