While Korea is mourning the victims of the Itaewon crowd crush tragedy, reporters’ absurd questions on broadcasts about the incident made the viewers frown.
Right after the Itaewon crowd crush happened, reporters from broadcasting stations were immediately dispatched to the scene to report the damage situation and made breaking news to inform the seriousness of the incident. KBS was the first broadcaster to report the accident on news and interviewed the witnesses. During a crisis, news from terrestrial broadcasters becomes more credible than that on SNS or Youtube. MBC and SBS followed with special reports every 30 minutes, and YTN sent out their anchor to the scene an hour later than other broadcasters. Meanwhile, JTBC covered the incident in news after midnight.
Since there was no script, the anchors had to report the scene as it was at that time and the connection with the site was also not smooth. However, the key point in disaster broadcasting is to deliver information with minimal facts and damages and, above all, to make viewers feel less anxious. However, in a press briefing by the fire authorities, some reporters were seen asking questions without filter, making viewers feel annoyed,”
While asking questions to the head of Yongsan Fire Station and the head Yongsan Police Station’s Criminal Division, the attitude of the reporters was also pointed out to be inappropriate. Despite the head of the fire department’s repeated announcement that “saving people and dealing with damages are the top priorities now”, reporters continued to ask absurd questions, such as “Why couldn’t the number of people in Itaewon be controlled in advance?”, “Is there a drug user or a gas leak in this accident?”, “I heard a victim was found in a club’s basement”, and “Why couldn’t that person be identified?”, etc., over and over again.
Of course, knowing the exact cause and problem of the accident is the most important thing to prevent similar accidents from occurring. However, in the situation where there were still many victims with cardiac arrest being transported to hospitals, asking such questions instead of jointly coping with the crisis seemed inappropriate. It is not too late to investigate the cause of such an accident and the person in charge after the on-site recovery.
When the police failed to come up with the answer they wanted, a reporter even asked, “Then is there anyone who can check on the situation and answer this?“. That reporter went further to the point that they told the police, “Read the number on the paper in your hand”. As a result, many netizens are pouring out criticism on the low level of questions asked by Korean reporters in this accident.