Western Media Should Be Impartial: U.K. Newspaper
The U.K. newspaper Guardian on July 19 carried an article criticizing unfair reports spread by the Western media.
The paper said a shocking scene played out at Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. Ro Su Hui, vice-chairman of the South Headquarters of the Pan-national Alliance for Korea's Reunification, was thrown to the ground and carried off in a headlock by the south Korean regime in early July. Ro visited Pyongyang to pay respects at ceremonies to mark the 100th day after the death of leader Kim Jong Il.
The arrest made a very small splash in the western media, because it didn't square easily with the message that has been delivered by media outlets in Europe and the U.S. for the last two decades.
In fact it is almost impossible to find any piece of positive European journalism relating to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The lack of western sources in North Korea has allowed the media to conjure up fantastic stories that enthrall readers but aren't grounded in hard fact.
These roles are dusted off whenever there are flare-ups.
When the south Korean navy ship, the Cheonan, sank on March 26, 2010, the south Koreans accused their neighbours of having fired a torpedo. A detailed rebuttal by North Korea's military was disregarded by the wider world, as was the offer to aid an open investigation.
The south Korean public wasn't widely convinced of North Korean involvement.
While North Korean actions are condemned and derided, very few column inches are devoted to scrutiny of south Korea's "president" Lee Myung-bak and his oppressive policies.
They prosecute anyone speaking in favour of North Korea or communism in general. There are frequent reports of detention without trial, human rights abuses and clampdowns on freedom of speech.
Whatever your view on the actions of North and south Korea's governments, the hypocrisy of using one-sided journalism to label North Korea a rogue, propaganda-led state is surely self-evident and fans the fire of intolerance and animosity.
The Korean divide is a complex, multi-faceted political situation. Nobody benefits from turning it into a moral melodrama and we should demand more from our supposedly impartial media.