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[Editorial] Who Will Be Held Responsible for the Sangju Tragedy?

[Editorial] Who Will Be Held Responsible for the Sangju Tragedy?

Posted October. 05, 2005 07:18,   


It was an accident that should not have happened.

How can we explain the MBC music concert accident at Sangju as anything but a man-made disaster? The lack of security sense of the hosting broadcasting company, MBC, and Sangju city officials put a lot of people into a living hell. However, only now are the parties involved busy pointing their fingers at each other.

This disaster is a clear testimony to a level of the society blinded by private interests under its own nose. There were so many hasty procedures and flaws with the event planning, the contract by agent, and how the event progressed.

It was Sangju city’s fault to allow a non-event company, the International Culture Promotion Association (ICPA), to be in charge of the concert, since the ICPA had no qualifications or experience in holding such a large event. It was the poor attitude of the city that triggered the disaster, because it believed that local event was just a tool for the promotion of the local government body and didn’t attach importance to its execution. Besides, given the fact that the chairman of the ICPA in trouble is Sangju city mayor’s brother-in-law, it is natural that people raised serious questions regarding the procedure of how the event came to be held by the association.

Not only that, there are many questions surrounding the expenses paid for the concert. The ICPA had been given 100 million won from the city for the concert, but reportedly contracted to pay 130 million won to MBC for production cost. This shows that the ICPA had no room for paying any attention to security measures. It is highly important to find out why the ICPA pushed for this event, clearly knowing that it would end up with a huge event deficit.

The police and MBC should be blamed as well. Knowing that the concert would gather 10,000 fans or more, the police only dispatched 30 police officers to the site, which was a judgment error by the police. MBC kept saying that they only accepted the concert production request by the association, but that doesn’t free the broadcasting company from the blame of a poorly managed event. They took 130 million won in production costs, a clear business transaction, yet the question still lingers: why did they turn their back on the safety of the audience?

The government should put in its all efforts to settle the situation by compensating victims and providing proper medical treatment. It also must find the person or persons responsible for this tragedy and should not hesitate to punish them. This is the way to prevent another man-made disaster, and it will serve as a warning to the heads of local government bodies who only see local events as election campaign tools.