Thursday, March 27, 2008

[The Hankyoreh, March 6 2008] [Editorial] Degrading the media

When Hong Seok-hyun, the head of the JoongAng Ilbo, appeared at the office of the prosecution in central Seoul for questioning in connection with the ongoing investigation into the Samsung Group scandal, the behavior of some of the reporters working for the mass-circulation newspaper was enough to make other reporters feel ashamed. A former Samsung Group worker, who had been fired, arrived in time to protest Hong’s appearance but was immediately shoved by a reporter with his camera; the reporter currently works for the JoongAng’s video team. When Hong returned home, around four to five JoongAng reporters blocked a group of other journalists from him, engaging in a physical scuffle. Their behavior makes them seem more like Hong’s private body guards.

By using the privilege reporters have to access a scene, the JoongAng reporters served as a shield for their employer. They even hampered the work of their colleagues, who were trying to get a glimpse of Hong for their stories. This is tantamount to negating their raison d’etre. Photo and television journalists, who are covering the Samsung investigation for other newspapers, issued a statement, asking for an official apology and a promise that this kind of thing would not happen again.

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