[EDITORIALS]Attack on press is diversion

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[EDITORIALS]Attack on press is diversion

The way the Blue House and Uri Party are handling the issue of moving the capital has gone too far beyond the limit of common sense. As the government and the governing party, they seems to have lost even the minimum level of control over themselves.
They have, unreasonably, moved the focus of the debate on the move of the capital to “some newspapers” and started to launch attacks on them. They are doing things the wrong way and to a great degree. We can’t understand why the news media should become the target of their attack in this issue.
The issue this time is not one that can be solved through political struggle, so we can’t understand why the ruling camp tries to create a political confrontation over the issue.
Yesterday’s edition of the “Blue House Briefing,” which lays out the position of the Blue House on current issues, showed it clearly. An article contributed by a presidential press secretary carries this headline: “Chosun and Dong-a Must Clear Away the Doomed Shaman Ritual Immediately.”
The Blue House can criticize the reports in the media, but a headline like this has nothing to do with constructive criticism. How can they use such a phrase like “Doomed Shaman Ritual” in the Blue House briefing? Is the Blue House, the control tower of the government, stooping to such a level?
We regret the dark realities where words that could only be found in cyberspace, where people exchange naked words in the absence of filtering processes, are used in an official Blue House publication.
There is little difference between the Blue House and the Uri Party. The spokeswoman of the party said, “The geography of Korean politics is not a confrontation between the Grand National Party and Uri Party, but one between some newspapers and the Uri Party.”
She also said, ”While we talk about news media less than 10 days in a year, the media beat our party 365 days in a year until we are black and blue.”
It seems that she doesn’t even know the role of the press. The basic responsibility of the press lies in constantly checking and watching the powers in the government.
Instead of accommodating and correcting their mistakes when the press points them out, they put the blame on the press. How can they talk about democracy if they classify people who criticize them as their enemies? What are they accomplishing by accusing the press as assailants, while putting themselves, who hold political power, in the position of victims?
It seems that the leadership of the ruling camp is spoiling for a fight between the supporters of President Roh Moo-hyun and those against him, as they are driven to a defensive posture because of the issue of moving the capital.
It seems, especially, that they are trying to divert people’s attention by latching on to something totally unrelated to the capital move. Otherwise, there is no reason for them to attack newspapers. When the whole nation suffer from economic difficulties, the current government is only making the country noisy by creating unnecessary problems. This is really a worrisome situation for the nation.
If they really love the nation, they shouldn’t cause problems like this. Things related to the move of the nation’s capital are a totally different matter from those related to the press. The focus of the debate on the capital move is finding out, through sound discussion, where lies the best interest of the whole nation.
The Blue House and Uri Party must stop its offensive against the press immediately. If the press fails, because of such attacks, to provide a proper forum for the public debate on such an important issue like the capital move, the fallout will land entirely on the people.
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