[EDITORIALS]MBC had it comingThough Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation apologized to the public for the PD Notebook team’s threats to interviewees, the aftershocks are spreading rather than calming down. A staff member on the program team said the YTN report that revealed the threatening “missed the essential things.” Meanwhile, netizens are urging prosecutors to investigate the team’s reporting.
As we have said repeatedly, the PD Notebook team, by threatening interviewees, utterly failed to honor journalistic ethics. MBC should harshly punish those involved, as it pledged it would. If the company just waits until the public calms down a little then makes light punishments, the public will not accept them. Both NHK in Japan and the BBC in the United Kingdom have had presidents resign, taking responsibility for scandals that are less serious than that of the PD Notebook.
MBC is now facing its biggest crisis since its foundation. The company has apologized seven times this year for various incidents. Its audience will remember that some MBC producers were given luxury bags as bribes and that musicians exposed their genitals during a live MBC broadcast.
Following YTN’s report, MBC again apologized, saying that even though it pursued the “people’s right to know,” the reporting had been conducted in a “wrong” manner.
MBC had it coming. The broadcaster has been criticized for pursuing only its organization’s interest by using its ambiguous status on the boundary between state enterprise and private company. MBC has been politically biased, making it its business to distort news reports and offer prejudicial reporting. Such practices have brought about a fall in audience rating and reduced advertising revenues. Last month, MBC fell behind the younger SBS in monthly advertising revenues for the first time in its history.
Another problem with MBC is the overly-strong influence of its unionized workers, so the company is called neither state-run nor a private company but a labor-run company. Accordingly, the system of supervising and regulating staff members has been paralyzed, which caused this scandal.
Not only the chief executive officer of MBC but also related persons, including the division head in direct charge of the PD Notebook team, should assume the ultimate responsibility for this scandal to fulfill its duty to the TV audience and the public.