[EDITORIALS]Regulator stirs, alarms ring

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[EDITORIALS]Regulator stirs, alarms ring

The Broadcasting Commission named nine broadcasters, including KBS and SBS, for additional deliberations before deciding whether to renew their broadcasting permits or not. Before a final decision is made on each, more scrutiny from advisory panels and full hearings by the commission will be required. Warning lights are flashing at the nine offices.
When the Broadcasting Commission was established in 2001, the system of renewing broadcasting permits was introduced. But the network television stations were given an exemption, and licenses were renewed after only examining papers. Due to such unprincipled actions, the first commission was ridiculed as being a “paper tiger.”
The second group of commissioners has stepped forward, claiming that it will inspect broadcasters without exemption. If the commission functions properly, the so-called “broadcast power” of the networks will be checked effectively.
Reflecting on the reality of broadcasting today, there are ceaseless controversies over politically biased public broadcasters that pursue specific political agenda. Their loose management has also been pointed out as a problem. If the commission plays its role properly, it can check such violations by public broadcasters. We are curious to know whether such problems were pointed out at the examination this time. In the case of private broadcasters, it is pointed out that they failed to keep the legal limit of majority shareholders’ share and did not carry out plans they promised when they applied for permit renewals. They should correct what the commission pointed out.
The problem is that political intention shouldn’t intervene in the process of permit renewals. However, rumors are abound on the permit re-examinations. Especially on the fate of SBS, various rumors originate from the ruling camp. We will keep an eye on this, to see whether there is a political intention in selecting SBS for supplementary inspection.
Especially, if the deliberation committee adopts “separation of ownership and management,” that is not among the examination items, it is against the regulations on broadcasting administration. It will taint the fairness and confidence of the commission for a long time.
The commission must overcome suspicions that it is using renewals as a means to tame certain broadcasters.
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