[EDITORIALS]Cue the PR guyDuring a discussion with public relations officials Friday at the Blue House, President Roh Moo-hyun stressed the importance of a “policy publicity system.”
He said such a system, to promote national policies to the citizenry, was essential to protect the people from distorted information. We acknowledge the importance of promoting the administration’s policies. But we are concerned at the fact that the Roh administration places priority on publicity instead of doing its job, and we are worried that the administration could be transformed into a giant public relations company.
These days, vice ministers appear in person even on television dramas to promote the administration’s policies.
During Saturday’s episode of a popular drama on the Seoul Broadcasting System network, there was a scene in which the administrator for the Multifunctional Administrative City Construction Agency appeared in person and described the excellence of the administrative city that the government is planning.
Although the scene tried to blend in with the rest of the story, by having the lead actor interviewing the agency chief, it was clear that the scene was part of the government’s effort to push its policies.
One cannot help but feel sympathy for the writer of the drama, who had to insert the scene, and the government officials who had to resort to such measures to publicize their plans.
This isn’t the only example of the government’s obsession with public relations. There was a ceremony on Saturday to commemorate the start of “Himangneuri (Spreading Hope to the World)” supported by the Ministry of Construction and Transportation, the Presidential Committee on Balanced National Development and the new city construction agency. Government officials said the group is the first “policy support” group, numbering 30,000 students and housewives who will voluntarily promote and cheer on the government’s policies.
That is a startling concept. It reminds us of the Red Guards during China’s Cultural Revolution or of Germany’s Hitler-Jugend.
We question the necessity of supporters for an administration to carry out its duties.
All these things are the result of Mr. Roh’s obsession with promoting his administration’s policies. The president should focus his attention on establishing good policies and their efficient execution instead of promoting them.