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[Editorial] Intellectuals` Continuous `Concerns For Nation`

[Editorial] Intellectuals` Continuous `Concerns For Nation`

Posted July. 26, 2001 10:03,   


In relation to the recent press investigation and the political situation, intellectuals have raised concerned voices. Intellectuals, who have been silent not to confront the ruling government in the midst of the pro-government public sentiment, began to speak out.

Following the Korean Bar Associations` resolution critical of the government`s `regression from the genuine rule of law`, `Vision@Korea`, a gathering of 300 intellectuals, published a policy document containing harsh criticism and advice on the government`s policy on the press. The document, entitled `political situation of media, where should it head?`, suggests five policy alternatives beyond simple criticisms. It is worth listening for the government, media firms, political circle, and civic organizations.

The document states that ``the press reform intends to create the public opinion that regards the newspapers under investigation as being unreasonable by stigmatizing them as `conservative press`.`` The document emphasized that the government should not infringe the freedom of the press regardless of the logic of the press reform.

We sympathize with their awareness of crisis that the current situation is heading to the national disintegration deviating from the essence of the press reform. Since the tax investigation of the press firms, unproductive war of attrition is continuing in the political as well the intellectual circle. A phenomenon of extreme division among the people is also emerging.

We should pay attention to Vision@Korea`s request for the civic organizations that their pure reformism should not be abused by the populism or the strategic political warfare of the political circle. Some of the civic organizations are in front of the attack against particular newspapers as if they are the representatives of the government. Even a term `Red guards` is appearing to indicate those civic organizations. It should critically reflect whether civic organizations, which are supposed to play the role of maturing a civil society, justify the suppression of the press and act against democracy.

It is in the same vein that Vision@Korea requested the broadcasting companies for fairness and self-reform. As the core of the broadcasting companies lies in the political neutrality and the public characteristic, they should not arouse suspicion that they are taking the lead of supporting the ruling government. Of course, the press companies will listen to the demand that they should take this crisis as an opportunity to secure the transparent management and to correct the wrong practices.

We believe that the policy alternatives, that is, the fruit of the continuous discussions among intellectuals, contain the `opinions of the silent majority`. The ruling government should be able to humbly accept different opinions without simply denunciating them because the ruling government does not like it.