Go to contents

Court Asks MBC Not to Judge on its Decision

Posted August. 01, 2008 03:29,   


The court has ruled that MBC’s in-depth investigative program “PD Notebook” must run a correction on its mad cow disease reporting and asked for the program not to clarify its own position. In other words, the court asked the program to focus on airing corrections instead of judging on the court decision.

The Seoul Southern District Court ruled Thursday in favor of the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, which lodged a complaint against the program and said, “PD Notebook must correct some wrong information on mad cow disease on its program.”

The court said that some major issues among seven controversial points in the case should all be corrected and refuted. But it dismissed the request of the ministry regarding commentaries.

The court said, “(PD Notebook) won in part, but the defendant might criticize and judge this ruling as a media company considering its role as a social critic. However, it is undesirable that the defendant criticizes the ruling while running a correction.”

Judge Kim Seong-gon added at the end of the ruling, “If (the program) claims in its correction that it won in the areas that it actually lost, it will be undesirable because the victim’s rights cannot be saved through the remedy. In that case, it can be judged that corrections or refutes are not properly made.”

This is out of concern that some decisions, which gave wins to the program, can be overly interpreted given the previous refutes by the program every time when the Korea Communications Standards Commission or the Press Arbitration Commission handed out a ruling.

The court requested the program to correct its misreporting of downer cows as mad cow disease-infected cows and its claim that Koreans are 94 percent likely to get mad cow disease.

It also ruled that the program should refute its report that the government allowed all of the five specific risk materials, saying, “It may bring confusion to viewers.”

The court said that the fact that Aresa Vinson, an American woman, died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease was false but dismissed the case, saying, “Enough corrections were made in the follow-up reports.”

The court also dismissed the other claims, such as the lack of U.S. capability in independently handling a mad cow disease outbreak, the possibility to get mad cow disease through ramen soup powder, and the government’s failure to grasp the U.S. slaughtering system, saying that they are not facts but opinions.