Secrets to reaching a real compromise

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Secrets to reaching a real compromise


When Margaret Thatcher died in April, the world was divided over her legacy. While she was praised as the Iron Lady who revived the British economy, critics blamed her for the “winner-takes- all” system. The BBC and Thatcher did not get along. The BBC’s news center was uncooperative with the Conservative Party, and Thatcher considered replacing the television license fee with advertisements.

The BBC’s Thatcher coverage after her death led to interesting responses. According to The Guardian, the BBC received 268 complaints that was biased in favor of Thatcher, while 227 complained it was biased against her.

Seoul National University communications Professor Rhee June-woong considers it a good example of the BBC’s impartiality. “Receiving criticism from both the pro-Thatcher and anti-Thatcher viewers for being biased means that BBC News is a model of public television news that is impartial, balanced and fearless.”

Lately, one of the hottest topics in Korean society is the reintroduction of bonus points in the hiring process for those who fulfilled the mandatory military service. The system was ruled unconstitutional and abolished in 1999 as it discriminated against women and the handicapped. There are moves to reverse the decision, but the National Assembly has postponed processing related laws.

Yang Hyun-ah, a law professor at Seoul National University, appeared on an MBC radio program and said, “It is anachronistic to reintroduce a system that has already been ruled unconstitutional.” She added that the core of the decision was that an active measure for discharged soldiers lacks constitutional grounds

Yang also said the focus of the controversy is the universality and transparency of conscription. “Dubious military service exemptions for the privileged must be cleared, and if the military duty applies to all citizens, we need to consider ways to include women.”

After the radio appearance, people told Yang she brought up a topic no one likes to hear. Men would be displeased by her objection to the reintroduction of the benefit, and women would not like drafting women. Yang has a point. “Why would everyone hate the idea? Men would welcome conscribing women as they wouldn’t be discriminated against. Women would save themselves from the discrimination of not offering extra hiring points.”

The BBC and Yang were criticized from both sides. We are living in times where interests conflict, and we may reach a real compromise when more people are not afraid of complaints and make arguments that are inconvenient, yet sound.

* The author is a deputy culture and sports news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.

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