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[Opinion] Civic Broadcasting

Posted September. 30, 2008 08:29,   


When the candlelight rallies against American beef imports hit their peak in June, the phrase “civic broadcast girl” was one of the most searched items on the Internet. A Web user parodied an order from a female officer’s voice that protesters voluntarily disband. The parody was posted on the Radio and Television Commission, triggering massive searches for the video. The message read, “My dear police officers. Please go home. It’s late at night. Go back to your barracks… You will have no more rations even if you stay longer. There will be no holidays or leave, either.” The message disparaged not only the government’s authority, but damaged the personal esteem of officers. But the protesters cheered at the mocking voice.

The commission’s homepage still has numerous burning candles. On the main page featuring violent protesters tying police buses with ropes to tip them over, the captain compares their hands to hands that bring down a wall. At the end of the video clip, a subtitle appears and says, “Sponsored by the Broadcast Development Fund.” The fund is part of the public budget. Faced with this ironic reality, the meaning of public good is confusing.

The Act on the Broadcast Development Fund specifies that the fund sponsor viewers who produce broadcast content and video clips. The commission, however, aired programs opposed to the free trade agreement with the United States 22 times from 2006 to March last year. In “The 100th Day of the Candlelight Protests: Prospectives and Alternatives,” the commission said, “We expect the anti-bourgeois movement to actively show the nature of the proletariat.” Despite this euphemism, it is like encouraging candlelight protesters to spearhead a proletarian revolution.

Over its five-year term, the Roh administration pitched in money to encourage viewers to produce their own video clips. The sum of 8.5 billion won went to the commission. SungKyunKwan University professor Lee Hyo-seong, who vice chaired the Korean Broadcasting Commission and chaired the Broadcasting Development Fund Commission from 2003 to 2006, is now chairman of the Radio and TV Commission. Looking deeper into the matter, this seems normal. The goal of the Radio and TV Commission might not differ much from that of Roh’s Democracy 2.0.

Editorial Writer Kim Chang-hyeok (chang@donga.com)