[EDITORIALS]Inappropriate commentsThe vice chairman of the Korea Broadcasting Commission has joined in a controversy over the research, carried out by the Korean Society for Journalism and Communication Studies, on the neutrality of major television stations’ reports on the presidential impeachment. Lee Hyo-seong, the deputy head of the commission, pointed out, through the print, Internet and broadcast media, that the research committed the fallacy of identifying the fairness of news reports with mathematical balance. It should be noted here that Mr. Lee’s behavior was extremely inappropriate.
Surrounding the research, there are debates on a number of issues, ranging from the fairness of the contents to the transparency of the procedure for selecting researchers. There is nothing wrong with journalism scholars expressing different opinions, since the academic community makes progress through sound criticism. By reviewing the examples of other countries that have succeeded in establishing a tradition of fair reporting, we can come closer to establishing such standards here.
Mr. Lee is a journalism scholar who has taught in universities for a long time. But it is hard this time for him to escape criticism for being careless, because he is not an ordinary person, nor simply a journalism scholar.
The issue of whether the reports of the three major broadcasters on the impeachment were fair is now being considered by a committee of the broadcasting commission. The panel will hear broadcasters’ opinions and then decide whether to penalize them or not.
If the committee decides to punish them, the commission should convene a full-fledged meeting with the participation of nine commissioners. Since Mr. Lee knows this procedure, he is suspected of trying to induce an atmosphere favorable to him by making his personal views public in advance. Even if it is accepted that he expressed his views according to his conscience as a scholar, he cannot be free from criticism that he overlooked his position as the commission’s deputy head.
Passion that misses the mark can only harm the organization. The neutrality of the commission should remain intact. If there is something to say, then speak at the commission meeting.