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NEC Took First Restraint over the Internet Websites

Posted March. 25, 2004 22:04,   


The websites of five media companies have received warning restraints and precaution from the National Election Commission (NEC) on March 25 as a result of violating election laws and rules of consultation for the election coverage.

This restraint is the first action engaged by “Consultation Committee for Online Election Coverage,” the independent organization launched under the umbrella of the NEC following the revision of election laws on March 15.

According to the committee, the Internet media company “Issuetoday” violated article no. 108 (the prohibition of the publication of election polls) of the election laws on March 22 by putting out a poll asking, “Which party do you wish to be victorious at the upcoming election?” and permitting netizens to view the result on its homepage, and the media company received a warning from this watchdog organization.

The internet websites, Digital Kookje and the Citizen Daily, received precaution warnings by not making clear of the error rates of their polls and the objects of opinion polls, which is also against article no. 108 of the election laws.

The NEC also asked for fair broadcasting to the KBS Internet and iMBC claiming, “It might cause confusion to the electorate if the media broadcast the candidates’ dominating situation, when the error rates of the supporting rate to them are within the probable error range.”

The KBS Internet reported, “At the golden electoral for the Grand National Party (GNP), Seocho Gab, an anonymous candidate, is receiving more popularity within the error range than the female candidate from GNP,” while reporting that the public opinion polls in seven areas, including Gangnam, Seoul, on March 20 at the 9 p.m. prime time news. Also, the media conclusively reported, “At Songpa Byeong electoral, the support rate for the candidate from the Uri Party is in the lead, but the candidate from the Millennium Democracy Party stood first in terms of suitability in the electoral within the probable error range.”

iMBC was also pointed out for its judgmental reporting manner with the following: “Also the prospect of winning weighed towards ‘A’ candidate within the probable error range,” announcing the public opinions in the Daegu Donggab and Sooseong electoral at the prime time news on March 21.

The Consultation Committee for Online Election Coverage has the right to deliberate only on the internet websites of media companies. Therefore, the committee did not take a restrictive action to the related broadcasting companies that released the above contents.

Min-Hyuk Park mhpark@donga.com