Fake news: Korea PM urges journalists to rebuild public trust

The Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea, Mr Kim Boo-kyum, on Monday, urged journalists to strive to overcome the challenge of fake news to re-build public trust in journalism.

He was speaking at a two-day virtual World Journalist Conference organised by the Journalists Association of Korea in Seoul.

Mr Boo-Kyum said although the Republic of Korea had achieved significant milestone in vaccination against the COVID-19 pandemic, the incidence of fake news derailed public trust in journalism, and urged participating journalists from Asia, Middle East, Africa, Europe, and America to use their tools to change the narrative. 

“Through the considerable cooperation of Korean citizens, Korea has passed the COVID-19 crisis with the highest vaccination rate and the lowest fatality rate in the world,” the Prime Minister said.

Mr Boo-Kyum said what happened in the past two years; the preposterous claims or provocative false descriptions about vaccines which were excitedly reported to increase online hits, and induced confusion to make the public uneasy should never happen again. 

“This situation should never happen again. We all need to think about what is the right conduct for the future of our community, and what role journalism should play,” she added.

He continued, “I hope all the journalists at this conference will make a way to create a ‘healthy community’. We need your knowledge to be collected with the spirit of solidarity and cooperation.

With that power, let’s make a new history for journalism and humankind.”

The Prime Minister, who spoke on “Great Transformation of Civilisation, the Role of Journalism,” said journalism needed to stand up and light up the way to overcome all challenges that might come under the transformation. 

For his part, President of JAK, Kim Dong Hoon, underscored the need to restore trust in journalism.

He said it was necessary to hold the conference online because of the pandemic, noting that JAK would be pleased to welcome journalists if the virus subsided next year.

Mr Hoon stated that JAK was established in 1964 and it’s celebrating its 58th anniversary this year.

He said, “It is Korea’s largest association of journalists, with about 11,000 members from 199 media companies participating in its activities” and that one of the association’s five principles is to “help one another and reinforce ties with other journalists globally”.

Mr Ki Yon Kil, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Seoul Tourism Organisation, said the World Journalists Conference not only promoted Korea to the world, but it was a place of celebration where journalists from countries all around the world came together to have in-depth discussions on important global issues.

He said, “Amid the gradual change from pandemic to endemic, tourism around the world has started to revive itself. And the Seoul Tourism Organisation is in step with this transformation, ready in hand with the active implementation of various Seoul tourism promotions set for this year. I look forward to seeing everyone next year during the spring time here in Seoul”.

Journalists at this year’s conference discussed two important issues- Current Status of Fact-Checking by Global Journalism and the Operation of Media Self-regulatory Organisation and A Society Changed by Journalism from Monday, April 25 to Tuesday, April 26.


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