[EDITORIALS]Games’ unfortunate eventIt is regrettable that an unfortunate incident that should have not happened took place at the Daegu Universiade. First of all, a press conference by civic groups opposed to the North Korean nuclear program that contained a provocative message to North Korea was not desirable. As we have said before, as the host of the event, refraining from such deeds would have demonstrated the more mature attitude.
But it is more than displeasing that North Korean journalists should use violence, and that the North Korean delegation should threaten to pull out of the games and demand a South Korean apology. This incident illustrates one of the biggest problems of North Korea, which subscribes to closed-mindedness and an anachronistic stance of defying culture that is communicated and recognized by civilized nations.
Freedom of expression is a universal right enjoyed by all nations except for North Korea and a few other countries worldwide. North Korea twisted the facts by claiming that the incident took place under police protection. But police in the South cannot obstruct or bar press conferences.
The North Koreans are livid because the civic groups have denounced their leader. But in the South, people are free to criticize President Roh Moo-hyun, as well as U.S. President George W. Bush, every day. The Northerners should demonstrate cordial manners since they are here as guests.
Moreover, it is scandalous that a reporter, no matter how angry, should use violence. If the reporter had a complaint, he should have referred it to the North Korean delegation, which in turn would have officially protested to the university games’ hosts.
By law, the games’ organizers should have repealed the journalist’s press pass and police should have investigated the violence. The South Korean authorities, however, taking into consideration the special relations with North Korea, expressed regret for the incident and promised that it would not recur. North Korea should take careful note of this goodwill. We also call on our authorities to handle the games in a more sophisticated manner.