[EDITORIALS]TV mishap must not reoccurPublic broadcaster KBS suffered its worst-ever broadcasting mishap yesterday when the screen and audio of KBS2 TV failed to operate for a full 20 minutes. During that time, viewers were left staring a blank and silent screen without any announcements. KBS explained that the mishap was due to a breakdown in its transmission equipment system, but this was more than a simple broadcasting mistake. When an error such as yesterday’s occurs, broadcasting stations usually switch to an emergency system and run pre-recorded tapings. Experts say most broadcasting interruptions do not last more than five minutes.
We are now tense times, with North Korea having recently conducted a nuclear test. In case of a national emergency, the primary mechanism in the emergency control system is the public broadcasters. If such an interruption had happened during a national emergency, the chaos and damage would have been too terrible to imagine. A thorough investigation should be conducted over this mishap and those responsible should be strictly disciplined. After the interruption, KBS announced it would take full responsibility for the error and do its best not to let it happen again. Let this not be an empty promise.
This broadcasting mishap seems to indicate a breakdown in the management system or a lack of discipline at KBS. Until now, KBS has been criticized for not being “public” enough. It has been portrayed by its critics as being more interested in catering to the needs of the politicians in power rather than the public and arguing incessantly with the government about the fees it receives. If the mishap on Sunday did indeed occur due to a fundamental weakness, KBS should take grave measures to cure it.
KBS is in the midst of a 4-month-old skirmish between its union and the government over the acknowledgement of the newly appointed president, whom the union claims was politically appointed. The government itself should also throw away any temptation to appoint a person based on his or her political sympathies. That is the first step to preventing another potentially dangerous broadcasting mishap.