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Pres. Office Defends Results of Probe Into News Program

Posted June. 20, 2009 09:46,   


The presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae yesterday defended the probe into a TV investigative news program’s incorrect reporting on the danger of mad cow disease from U.S. beef imports.

On the prosecutors’ announcement of the results of their investigation, presidential office spokesman Lee Dong-kwan said, “If such an incident happened in other countries, the entire management would’ve made a public apology and resigned en masse.”

In a news briefing, he said, “PD Notebook is found to have committed excessively biased reporting and distorted information that caused huge social unrest. But the producers claim the investigation constitutes oppression of media and was politically motivated, which is truly nonsense.”

“In the candlelight vigils last year, even middle and high school students took to the streets with candles, holding up banners reading ‘MB (Lee Myung-bak) Out.’ In a TV program that honored the late former President Roh Moo-hyun after his death, a TV station aired live derogatory comments against the (incumbent) president. Would this be possible in a country where the media is oppressed?”

The spokesman blasted the way news is reported by certain broadcasters, suggesting the need to hold management liable.

On the so-called producer journalism, he said, “There is no function of gate keeping and subjective judgment overwhelms objective truth, which is not the way journalism should be,” adding, “This can even be compared to giving car keys to a drunk driver. If this is the situation, broadcasters are not a vehicle for the public good, but a dagger.”

"(Media companies) must reflect on whether they are telling the truth to the public, and if they are doing their best to serve viewer interests. Media management that fails to meet assessment standards must be held accountable by the board of directors or other organizations.”

A presidential office source said, “By this, Spokesman Lee meant that management must be held liable not only at MBC but also at KBS and YTN in the event of erroneous and ill-advised broadcasting.”

On the deliberation of the revised media act at the National Assembly, the spokesman said, “Those who opposed to the bill claim that the new act could lead to unfair reporting and lower quality of broadcasting. But both public and private broadcasters have aired prime-time dramas with a complete lack of morals from morning to night when families get together."

"It is a gravely immoral thing to not raise issue with such a practice and to not hold broadcasters socially and managerially accountable.”