Freedom of the Press: Where is it?
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Freedom of the Press: Where is it?
  • Hwang Doo-yeon
  • 승인 2010.08.13 20:46
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The Korean
Independence Movement, the Kwangju movement for democracy and the 4.19 revolution: you have heard these words before. Throughout history, these have been the proof that our ancestors fought against many kinds of pressure to get their freedom. After the fights were repeated, people seemed to have their right to have freedom. But the truth is that the suppression still exists in our lives, especially in the press. What’s worse is that it is hard to get freedom if we try to take it by using the way our ancestors did, such as blood-war, staging a coup or assassinating someone. That’s because only getting freedom in the name of the law is meaningful today. We can’t break the rule because we want to get something. We should try to do it in a more peaceful and legal way.
Today, we can’t live without the press. People use the media to learn about society and participate in it. The press convinces people to do anything toward their society. That is, the press is the barometer measuring our freedom today. That’s the reason why ‘intelligent’ government, which wants to control the crowd, tries to rule the people by conquering the press.

Here are some cases that cause people to question, "Why do these things happen?"
A few months ago, one celebrity, named Kim Jae-dong, disappeared suddenly from a show program. He was funny and very good at leading the program. He had a fame that could affect the crowd. But why did he just disappear? Actually, people think there was one reason that he couldn’t show up on TV. He always tried to do the right thing and wanted to tell the truth as he thought. Although it was against the government, he couldn’t do without saying outspoken comments about them. As his comments received strong support from the crowd, the government thought of him as a thorn in their side. As a result, the government wanted to get rid of him from TV. Of course, we can't say that this is the direct reason for his sudden disappearance. However, this is the predominant view of the crowd. If this is true, where is the freedom of the press? If the press has its mouth shut by force, what’s the use of the having it? Does frank speech mean disappearing from the society? Even if certain opinions are wrong and seem weird, they have the right to be considered by the crowd.
Recently, the government of South Korea tried to enact a law about the press. It involved contempt in cyberspace, broadcast, radio, newspaper, arbitration in the press, multimedia communication and switching to DTV. Outwardly, there was no problem in this law, because change can be a good chance to remove bad things. However, if you see these laws in detail, you can see the serious problems with them. First, the law approves the participation of private companies. Up until now, the press has been protected by the law which guarantees its freedom of speech. However, if private companies take part in the press, people who have a lot of money or stock in big companies can be protected from the press. Then, these guys can do anything, even breaking the law, because the press can’t supervise them. If the society operates like this, why is the law needed, and why does the press exist?
Secondly, main staff members of the press can change into persons who illegally ally with the government. One of the functions of the press is observing the government and reporting corruption to the crowd. But if the law is passed, the comments that the press want to tell will always be checked by the government. This means every time someone wants to talk about dark side of society, he or she must glance at the government. Then, people can’t distinguish between truth and lies. The growth of civilization would stop. That would be very sad.
As I mentioned in this writing, the main functions of the press are guaranteeing the right to knowledge and performing the start of the behavior of freedom. If the starting point is dislocated, everything will go the wrong way and some people will surely try to use it in a bad way. Thus, we should be careful and not waver because of the suppression of the press. Let’s protect the media’s voice.

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