[EDITORIALS]Biased broadcastingEvaluating programs on the presidential impeachment aired by three major network broadcasters, the Korean Society for Journalism and Communication Studies concluded, “It is difficult to say that they were fair and balanced, whatever loose standards might be applied.” The journalism society has accepted that the programs aired by the three ― KBS, MBC and SBS ― were biased. For nine days since the impeachment bill passed the National Assembly, 96 news programs were broadcast. The evaluation is based on the analysis that there are big differences in numbers between the ones in support of the impeachment and others against it. In addition, the programs justified, through emotional video images and vocal expressions, those who opposed the impeachment by creating an image as if they were weak democracy forces. They also provoked sympathy for them.
We pay attention to the analysis that the program hosts used rhetorical phrases or subjective expressions. The program hosts should take extreme care not to express their personal opinions on politically sensitive issues. However, they led the discussion with provocative words, instead of keeping neutrality. It makes us suspect their qualifications as journalists. It is the basic duty of newscasters that they keep objective attitudes under whatever circumstances, so that the viewers can analyze and decide on the situation calmly. The report pointed out that the news coverage of the public broadcasters, KBS and MBC, were even more biased than those of commercial ones. It shouldn’t be forgotten that public broadcasters of advanced countries, such as BBC and NHK, are loved by the people because of their reliability. The fairness of a broadcaster starts with its independence from politics. Our public broadcasters were forced by the government, during military dictatorships, to make biased reports. We have to look back on ourselves to see whether such an unfortunate past casts a shadow over us.
It is regrettable that the KBS union and the National Union of Media Workers announced that they could not accept the report of the journalism society. It is not desirable that the controversy over the objectivity of the programs on impeachment repeats in our society. The Broadcasting Commission must act.