[EDITORIALS]KBS must improve standardsThe Korean Broadcasting System should pay attention to what its auditor, Kang Dong-sun, said to a group of recruits on Feb. 2. Mr. Kang said, “It is anachronistic and illogical that KBS broadcasts its programs with the attitude of a servant trying to give a lesson to its master, while proclaiming that it serves the viewers as its master.”
He said that KBS programs must encompass all spectrums of ideology, including conservatism, liberalism and middle-of-the-road views, and the contents of programs should be neutral and balanced. This is proof that the identify of KBS as a public broadcaster is in such confusion that it is necessary for the principles of public broadcasting to be reconfirmed by one of its own executives.
Since the inauguration of the Roh Moo-hyun administration, KBS has been the epicenter of such social conflicts as the controversy over the appointment of its president, arguments over the pros and cons of the broadcasting of some ideologically biased programs and confrontation with the opposition party over the collection of a viewers’ fee.
Such conflicts were caused by KBS’s arrogance in trying to persuade viewers one-sidedly instead of seeking their judgment as a fair broadcaster. It must especially reflect on whether the basic principle of the press, independence from political power, has been observed. Under the current situation of the nation being divided into several factions, it is deplorable that KBS belongs to one of those factions, a far cry from contributing to social integration.
We ask those in responsible positions, in both management and program production, whether they have done enough to prevent KBS from going this far. The independence of producers in program production should be guaranteed sufficiently, but they need supervision so that their actions will not draw protest from viewers. Vitalizing a pre-screening system, which is almost reduced to rubber-stamping, could be a solution.
As a recent survey on the influence of the media shows, KBS is the most influential medium in Korea. Unfortunately, it is not the most favored broadcaster. KBS must keep in mind that Britain’s BBC and NHK of Japan are the broadcasters that its people trust and take pride in the most.