Angry Letter to the Korea Times
I sent the following letter to the Korea Times to protest their ridiculous article, "Korea Blocks 40 Web Sites to Bar Spread of Victim's Video." I doubt they will respond. But, they should at least know that someone notices their ineptitude.
To Whom It May Concern:
My name is Isaac Kerson. I am a 4-year resident of Seoul, Korea and an occasional Korea Times reader. I am writing to correct Kim Tae-gyu's article, "Korea Blocks 40 Web Sites to Bar Spread of Victim's Video," in the June 28 edition of the Korea Times. It was poorly researched, misleading, and inaccurate.
The Ministry of Information and Communication has not blocked 40 web sites. It has blocked whole domains, such those provided by blogspot.com, blogger.com, blogs.com and typepad.com. These domains host thousands of websites, which include those of South Korean citizens, not simply the nebulous "foreign-based sites" your article repeatedly mentions. Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of the sites the MIC blocked are completely unrelated to Kim Sun-il or even South Korea.
It is clear from your report that you unthinkingly took one-sided, misleading information from the Ministry of Information and Communication and reprinted it. You never bothered to check the facts or do additional research. A quick search of the Internet or competitors' stories would have told you the MIC information was a distortion. This is extremely lazy reporting.
In your negligence, you have relegated your paper to a second-rate outlet for government propaganda. How can I take your future reports seriously when I know your reporters don't check their facts and unthinkingly reprint what the government feeds them? But, more importantly, you did yourself a disservice. You missed an important, compelling story about South Korean government censorship, infringements on freedom of speech, and constitutional violations.
If you do not do something to rectify the glaring inaccuracies in your article, it will lead me to conclude that your blunders were not simply the result of lazy reporting — which is bad enough — but rather your mistakes were part of the Korea Times larger, more dangerous practice of willfully using distorted information and misleading the public in the service of the government. I would certainly never read a newspaper that I though engaged in such practices. But, more importantly, such a newspaper will not survive in today's free and open media climate.
You make the choice. For your sake I hope it is the right one.