[EDITORIALS]MBC’s motives are suspectDespite the request of the Supreme Court to reconsider broadcasting a “Producer’s Notebook” program on Song Du-yul and the National Security Law, MBC-TV went ahead with the plan to telecast it on Tuesday.
Whether it is a newspaper or a broadcasting station, a media outlet’s report on current issues shouldn’t be restricted. When there is concern that the program could influence court proceedings, however, we can make an exception.
Therefore, it is stipulated in the broadcasting deliberation regulation that “if a program deals with a case on which a court proceeding is in progress, it should not broadcast contents that can influence the court’s proceedings.” It might be the same reason that the National Assembly’s inspection of government work is limited when the inspection is intended to intervene in a trial.
The program in question covers, in the first half, the events that took place from the time Mr. Song, a Korean-German sociologist, returned to Seoul in September last year until his arrest by the prosecution. The remaining part deals with issues related to the National Security Law.
MBC-TV says it has done its best to keep the content balanced. If viewers get the impression that the main part of the program favors one side, however, it can’t be said to be a balanced program. In Mr. Song’s trial, the main issue was whether or not he is the “Kim Cheol-su” named by the North Korea authorities and an alternate member of the Politburo of the North Korean Workers’ Party. The court of the first instance delivered a guilty verdict. The program in question, however, gave weight to Mr. Song’s claim that he is not, by including graphic material showing that Mr. Song was not allowed to stand on the podium at the time of Kim Il Sung’s funeral.
Why did they produce a program like this at a time when the second trial is around the corner? How can they claim that they are balanced while they behave like this?
Moreover, the production staff members said, “We hope the schizophrenia of our society will end soon.” Does this mean that they produced it to help defend Mr. Song in the court?
Debates on the abolishment or the revision of the National Security Law can be made without restraint. But it is not so urgent as to push forward and ignore the request of the judiciary. It could have instead broadcast the show after the court proceedings on Mr. Song’s case is over. It is difficult for MBC to avoid criticism that it produced the program with hidden motives.
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