KCSC (Korea Communications Standards Commission) announced recently that they would be investigating the reports made on the death of SHINee‘s Jonghyun for violations of accepted practices.
On December 28, KCSC officially announced, “The rules by KCSC state that it is forbidden for media outlets to describe, beautify, and/or justify a suicide. Media outlets are also forbidden from judging a cause of a suicide or concluding a death as a suicide without evidence.”
KCSC stated, “We’re closely monitoring all the reports regarding suicide. We plan to take strong action against broadcast stations that have violated the rules.”
Specifically, there’s going to be five things they’re looking for.
used photos of a different celebrity while reporting on Jonghyun’s death
used the phrase ‘found dead’ when Jonghyun actually passed away after being transferred to the hospital
described the suicide method in detail
assumed the cause of suicide was depression (without proof)
reported the scenes of Jonghyun’s funeral processions in detail (taking photos of the celebrities at the funeral home)
Well, good luck to the KCSC because the media outlets who violated those standards were … most of them around the world. Just in general, the way this story was handled by the media was borderline unbelievable.
In the moments and days immediately after Jonghyun’s death, I resisted the temptation to continue to cover the story because the Werther effect is a thing that happens and the potential for further tragedy could easily be seen through the raw, depressive emotions on social media and in comment sections everywhere. Thus, I didn’t feel comfortable doing anything but being overly cautious with recommended practices because otherwise I’d feel like I was only contributing to the problem, even if coverage would be understandable for news reasons.
That said, now that the KCSC is addressing the problems with the media’s coverage publicly (even if their action is likely largely performative and toothless), it seemed like an appropriate time to point out how terribly the media failed in their coverage of this story both domestically and abroad. I don’t get legit upset about much involving K-pop, but some of the shit I was seeing was beyond the pale, with most outlets just milking every single last tear out of their audience all for those precious fractions of a penny. Everybody has their own moral compass, and surely shit I’ve done has gone too far for some, but there’s click-baiting for blatant satire and low-brow jokes and then there’s click-baiting somebody’s death that could then cause further deaths. They couldn’t just sit this one fucking story out? Seriously?
Like say what you want about shitty blogs or whatever, but perhaps the most genuine reaction I read came from fucking Anti K-Pop-Fangirl, while goddamn KPOPALYPSE only posted to briefly call out the bullshit coverage of the story by the media. So it was comical to me that other outlets that are so-called professionals that paint themselves as progressive, fandom-friendly journalists went ahead and added fuel to the fire of this story so it would go on for as long as possible and they could get every penny out of it. When shit hits the fan, you really see what’s what.
Anyway, I apologize if this was still too soon for people, but I had to be selfish for a minute and get this off my chest when I read about the KCSC story cause it was eating at me this entire time.
Be safe out there.