Tilted KBS news coverageThe Korea Broadcasting System is proving once again to be politically biased. In his doctoral dissertation, Kim In-kyu, a visiting professor at Sungkyunkwan University, wrote about the program “KBS News 9” during the election campaign in 2002 as an example of biased reporting.
The thesis points out that for the last two presidential elections, suspicions swirled that then presidential candidate Lee Hoi-chang’s two sons avoided their mandatory military service illegally.
But the news program reported the suspicions differently. In 1997, when Lee was a candidate for the ruling party, the suspicion was reported 19 times. In 2002, when he was the candidate of the opposition party, the news on the scandal of his sons was reported 101 times. The content of the reporting was different.
In 2002, 12 percent of the news coverage on the scandal reported Kim Dae-up’s remarks that raised suspicion about Lee’s involvement in the scandal as if it was the truth. Kim’s remarks were aired 37 times. In short, the news program misleadingly reported Kim’s claim as the truth.
Kim was later convicted of libel and false accusation and was imprisoned for 21 months. The other day, he was sentenced to pay compensation of 10 million won ($11,000) for tipping off the police with false information and defaming the head of the investigation team.
The court repeatedly confirmed that Kim’s claim was not true. But it is too late to reverse Lee’s defeat in the past elections. Even though Kim was found guilty, KBS has not apologized.
KBS has been politically charged before. During the Chun Doo Hwan administration, the 9 o’clock news always started with reports about the president, without exception.
In 2004, when President Roh Moo-hyun faced impeachment, KBS aired biased programs as well. A society for journalism and a communication study evaluated that KBS has long lost its fairness and neutrality.
But the public broadcaster plans to raise the license fee, instead of trying to deliver unbiased programs. This is a shameless act.
If the company has the least degree of integrity and morals, it must repent for what it has done before asking for more for the license fee.
The company must keep its promise to the people that it will deliver fair news for the election campaign. Then people will be willing to pay more for the license fee.