[EDITORIALS]Another official online fiascoIs our government recommending that the people express condolences over the 10th anniversary of Kim Il Sung’s death? The Government Information Agency is fueling such a controversy through its Internet news site, “Briefing on National Affairs.”
A posting on the site was titled “Let the two Koreas alone revive the spirit of June 15.” The writer expressed concern that inter-Korean relations have shown signs of cooling off. Then the posting goes on: “The South Korean government and the people must, as soon as possible, organize a joint delegation to pay condolences to mark the 10th anniversary of North Korean President Kim Il Sung’s death.” The writer also said, “The government, in cooperation with the Uri Party, must take appropriate action regarding the U.S Congress North Korea Human Rights Act,” and “North Korean defector issues have always had a negative influence on inter-Korean relations, and the simple approach focused on human rights has brought about ill effects.”
The posting is in the form of an article by a “National Affairs Netporter,” an Internet reporter recruited by the Government Information Agency. The agency, however, administers postings, and has the right to edit. It had made clear that the reporters’ articles are screened by its editorial board and are paid for. That is why the posting may cause misunderstanding. The readers may believe that the government is actually recommending that the nation express condolences over Kim Il Sung, that it opposes the North Korea Human Rights Act and that it views defectors who risked their lives for freedom as an obstacle in inter-Korean relations.
The nation has been undergoing debate over the president’s view of the national identity. And now the Government Information Agency, responsible for the government’s public affairs operations at home and abroad, is posting such a statement on its official Web site. How can we expect the debates to subside?
This is not the first time that the government’s management of its Web sites has been criticized. It was only a few days ago that the Blue House’s public affairs senior secretary issued an apology, and officials were punished, for posting an image that sexually insulted Grand National Party chairwoman Park Geun-hye. Despite this precedent, we have another controversial incident. That is why the people are doubting this administration’s true intention and its ethics.