Wednesday, February 06, 2008

[The Hankyoreh, January 14 2008] [Editorial] Manipulating the media

It has been revealed that the presidential transition team directed civil servants at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, which is responsible for overseeing the publishing of books and periodicals, to report to it about big names in the news media. Reportedly it also told ministry officials to look into advertisers who have influence over given media companies. This is an incident that simply should not have happened in a democratic society, an incident that was an open display of an intention to control the media. The transition team later explained that it took place because of the individual and unauthorized actions of one team member, with the surname Park, while he was at the ministry office. It has issued an official apology, called Park back from the ministry, and destroyed the documentation that was produced on its request. However, there are more than a few aspects of this that are suspicious enough to make it difficult to just move on and accept the transition team’s explanation.


In its move to do away with the “newspaper law” and in other things as well, Lee’s new administration is showing signs of regressing to years past. Lee and the GNP need to spend some time in deep thought. History has taught us that when state authority rejects the free criticism and watchfulness of the media and tries to manipulate it instead, it is the powers that be who lose in the end.

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