+ A

The right to know a bit later

Feb 18,2020
HA HYUN-OCK
The author is the head of the welfare and administration team of the JoongAng Ilbo.

The Super Bowl, the championship game of the National Football League’s (NFL) annual playoff season, is America’s biggest sporting event, watched by 100 million viewers in the United States.

Companies around the world pay millions to have their advertisements broadcast during the commercial breaks. The halftime show is considered the dream stage for pop stars — this year Jennifer Lopez and Shakira performed.

The halftime show is live, but with a five-second delay. The delay went into effect after a controversial incident in 2004, when Janet Jackson’s breast was exposed while she performed with Justin Timberlake. After the so-called “Nipplegate” controversy, the broadcaster decided to add the delay. In Korea, after a member of a music band exposed his private parts on a music show in 2005, the shows started being broadcast with a five-minute delay.

Delayed broadcasting is still live but allows an appropriate response to be taken for unexpected incidents. Indecent or shocking scenes are filtered. There is also an attempt to use delayed broadcasting with different intentions. In December 2019, the Chinese government announced that it was considering a three-minute delay on live broadcast videos on internet streaming platforms. While the authorities claim it was to enhance the quality of content, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post and other media criticized it as a measure to strengthen censorship.

I thought about delayed live broadcasting in terms of the unheard-of “right to know a bit later.” At a Feb. 11 press conference, Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae talked about her decision to not disclose the indictment for 13 Blue House officials and other figures on charges of intervening in the 2018 Ulsan mayoral election.

“Rather than a simple right to know, there is a right to know a bit later. I made the decision to correct the wrong practice in the past,” she said. The disclosure of the indictment was one of the judiciary reform measures of the Roh Moo-hyun administration to protect people’s right to know.

When a reporter asked, “Didn’t you think the practice of disclosing public indictments to the public was wrong when you were in the National Assembly?” Choo responded, “As far as I remember, I’ve never demanded the government submit government documents that can presuppose conviction.”

So even when an indictment surely does not contain indecent content, I guess we have to presume that “the right to know a bit later” is the reason for the “delayed broadcast” of the documents.

JoongAng Ilbo, Feb. 17, Page 29