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[Editorial] Harmful UCCs

Posted February. 09, 2007 06:46,   


Pandora TV, one of Korea’s best-known user-created contents (UCC) websites, drew lots in its studio to decide which of the presidential hopefuls would get “golden channels.” There were so many presidential aspirants eager to get a catchy-named channel that Pandora TV had to draw lots, an official of the company said.

This heralds the beginning of serious competition among presidential hopefuls in utilizing UCC websites for their presidential races. It was broadcast live on the website, reminding us of a scene from a Lotto drawing. The power of UCCs is nothing new to us anymore. Nearly a dozen domestic video-sharing websites say that they will make the most of UCCs to make this year’s presidential elections a “grassroots festival.” However, we also need to worry about the aftereffects of negative campaigns that UCCs will entail.

Recently, video footage that showed a schoolgirl being sexually harassed by male students spread fast on the Internet, shocking the whole nation. However, the police found out that it was a fabricated piece of footage made by high school male students. The victim was, in fact, a male student wearing a skirt. What’s more surprising is that the students made the footage to show the side effects of UCCs. This is a very good example illustrating the negative impact of a fake video.

According to an Internet traffic analysis company, people in their 20s and 30s make up some 70 percent of UCC users. In the upcoming presidential elections, the number of 19-year-old voters who have never cast a vote before will alone account for some 600,000. As seen in the “military exemption scandal” in the 2002 presidential race, fabricated information can change the fate of election results. However, voters have become much more vulnerable to misguided information in the prevailing UCC-friendly Internet environment.

Unlike existing media, which are subject to strict social responsibilities, UCCs are likely to be produced for more personal reasons based on emotional appeal. Although the National Election Committee (NEC) says that it is drawing up a number of measures to prevent negative effects of UCCs, it is still doubtful. The NEC’s supervision was too loose and illegal campaigns were rampant even when there was no such term as the UCC. The NEC must find a solution that helps voters improve their immunity against harmful UCCs.