Go to contents

[Opinion] The Moral Exit of KBS

Posted July. 30, 2005 03:06,   


“I felt as if I was hit by a hammer on the head. While watching television with my mother-in-law, I got so uncomfortable and I even felt shameful.” “Old Miss Diary,” a sitcom of KBS 2 TV aired on July 27 a scene in which a daughter-in-law slaps her mother-in-law on the cheek. After the immoral scene was broadcast, the homepage of the program was hit by a flood of critical postings by netizens. The daughter-in-law boxed her mother-in-law’s ears as she blamed the mother for her child’s injury. The son, or the husband of the daughter-in-law, said to his mother, “You deserve it.”

A high school student posted a message that family members who were watching the program became speechless and he added that, “The program sent the blood pressure of my grandmother who is 93 years old rushing up.”

Producers of the program posted an apology on the network’s homepage, but the repercussions are unlikely to die down for the time being, since in this country, “national sentiment law” is influential enough to overpower the constitution. The “national sentiment law” stipulates that broadcasting law and broadcast should respect the public’s ethical and emotional sentiment and should not exert harmful influence on healthy family life. KBS should have kept in mind the “national sentiment law” with particular care, since it is a public broadcasting station and the national backbone broadcasting company that is run on subscription fees from the public.

“Live as a father! Not as a man…” “I want to be happy. Is it wrong?” In the KBS 2 TV drama “She Is Back” broadcast on Monday and Tuesday, a father and a son fight over a woman who came to life again after being frozen for 25 years. The story about the ceaseless conflict with an old lover who became another woman’s husband dominates dramas from the morning drama “Dangerous Love” to the weekend drama “Good bye, sadness.” The programming principle of KBS 2 TV is the “establishment of a mental greenbelt that protects the national psyche from the sensationalism of commercial broadcasting.” These days, KBS 2 TV seems more like a moral exit where the mental greenbelt is lifted.

KBS 1 TV insists that it is trying to become “Korea’s central channel.” However, on the issue of broadcasting about impeachment, the KBS Management Evaluation Team said, “Taking a stance that represents or supports a particular interest group jeopardizes the foundation of our existence.” Recently, there was an agreement between labor and management to raise subscription fees in order to protect jobs. It is questionable whether the Korean people should keep paying subscription fees when KBS shakes the “center” of the Korean people and pollutes their mentality while protecting its own interests.

Kim Sun-deok, Editorial Writer, yuri@donga.com