Go to contents

[Editorial] MBC Newsgathering Methods Questioned

Posted December. 05, 2005 07:09,   


The ramifications of the MBC investigative news program PD Diary’s questioning of the authenticity of Dr’ Hwang Woo-suk are spreading.

Recently, MBC had the National Institute of Scientific Research inspect Hwang’s research, claiming that the research on cloned embryonic stem cells might be false. Faced with criticism that the probe itself cannot be trusted, MBC announced that it would broadcast “major testimony” of researchers who used to work under Hwang.

However, researcher Kim Seon-jong refuted this, saying, “I did not say that there was anything wrong with Dr. Hwang’s research,” on Sunday during the interview with Korea’s all news channel, YTN. This gave way to suspicions regarding credibility of PD Diary.

The program’s questions on ethical issues related to ova acquisitions can be regarded as the social role of the media. However, researchers are saying that broadcasters threatened and lied to them. According to researchers, the broadcasters said, “Hwang’s research proved to be false, and Hwang will be arrested. If you cooperate with us, we will provide you with a solution for your careers.”

Moreover, the program did not reveal the purpose of the interview and violated MBC’s own broadcasting rules, such as using a hidden camera. Given this, one wonders about the reasons why the broadcaster not only violated its own rules, but also used unethical measures to come up with an intended outcome. The broadcaster’s attitude of trying to have the final say on Hwang’s achievements is also worrisome. The broadcaster’s recent behavior inflated suspicions that it is trying to make a case against Hwang when faced with criticism after raising the ethical issue of Hwang’s research.

The international science community recognized Hwang’s research on stem cells. “Science” made it clear that it does not question the integrity of Hwang’s research. Should there be a breach in the research, then the science community should rightfully investigate.

MBC’s questioning of the research and making a conclusive decision for its own good cannot be deemed as appropriate. It cannot be of any good for the development of science. Now is the time to pool wisdom so that Professor Hwang’s team can concentrate on more important research.