Where Should Internet Broadcasting Head to? Internet broadcasting is currently being spotlighted as a new medium of speech. Internet broadcasting is a broadcasting system that sends out its programs through Internet circuits. This medium is attracting attention at present due to its boundless possibilities after the rapid propagation of the Internet, and has been named a “new media.” It is appealing because it can be seen by users not only from the home country but from all over the world. In addition, due to the fact that anyone can participate in the production of a program and that there is mutual interaction between the provider and the user, Internet broadcasting is currently being warmly welcomed by the public.
Something tragic happened recently that made a lot of people watch Internet broadcasts. Yes, as many may assume, it is the Sewol ferry tragedy. Although the public TV station kept us posted about the incident, people gradually became skeptical of its news reports as the information it provided kept changing with time. People were thinking that its media people must be hiding something from the public, and eventually claimed that they could no longer trust the public TV station. It was Internet broadcasting that such people laid their eyes on after losing their trust in the public media. Broadcasting jockeys (BJs), who manage the Internet broadcast programs, started to broadcast reports about the incident in real time. Unlike the public TV station, which focused on formality, arguing about the cause and responsibilities, Internet broadcasting found a way to survive, broadcasting reports about the incident live, as the public wanted. People thought that live broadcasting was much more reliable as well as less vulnerable to distortion. If there is light, however, there is also a shadow. The future and possibilities of Internet broadcasting, seen through the Sewol ferry tragedy, aren’t very positive.
Not all the programs concerning the ferry tragedy that flooded the airwaves broadcasted reports on the issue; others conveyed their condolences to the loved ones of those who perished from the incident. In one case, a BJ bombarded the people missing from the tragedy with rough words in his own program. On April 17, this BJ threw insults and issued an insulting remark about the ferry tragedy. He said, “Did they go on a field trip to a rock?” and “The ship must have been a submarine.” Afterwards, he broadcasted his explanation of his statements and apologized for them, but he denied having uttered some of the statements. As he was proven to have really uttered those statements, however, he was arrested by the police.
Internet broadcasting is at a fine border between broadcasting and communication. Previously, media was divided into only three categories: broadcasting, communication, and printed media. Internet broadcasting does not belong to any of these categories, which makes it difficult for it to be regulated by the current law. The reason that there are many scandals involving Internet broadcasting isn’t just the lack of regulations. Such scandals are also due to the correspondence between the producer and the user, which is also considered charming by many people. Anyone can manage his or her own program, interacting with the netizens. What’s more, becoming a famous BJ will allow one to earn quite a fortune. For these reasons, a lot of people want to become a broadcaster, and this is where the problem begins.
The news reports of the public TV station, considered a standard for broadcasting, are made by true experts. Specialized staffs operate and manage the equipment and system while established and well-respected anchors deliver the news. On the other hand, the current Internet broadcasts are run by ordinary people who have not been trained for such work. This causes numerous accidents, but the biggest problem is that people do not realize that their broadcasting is also a medium of speech. People tend to think, “This is my program so I can do whatever I want,” leading to irresponsible behavior.
Internet broadcasting in the 21st century still has a lot of possibilities. For one, it enables active communication between the producer and the user, and anyone in the world can be a viewer. Also, the people today will continue to seek trustworthy broadcasts, and Internet broadcasting can fully satisfy their need for such. If this attractive medium cannot go forward due to its producers’ irresponsibility, it would be a fatal loss for everyone. Internet broadcasting, a representative “new media,” is envisioned to constantly advance. For that to happen, though, legal regulations must be arranged, and its producers and users must develop appropriate attitudes.