Journalists from 53 countries to discuss future of journalism amid viral fake news

JAK president Kim Dong Hoon (Yonhap)

JAK president Kim Dong Hoon (Yonhap)

By Habib Toumi

SEOUL: The rapid spread of fake news amid a deluge of misinformation, disinformation and mal-information during the COVID-19 pandemic will be addressed by international journalists at a three-day conference next week in the Korean capital Seoul.

The World Journalists Conference 2020, an annual media event organized by the Journalists Association of Korea (JAK), will on September 14 look at some measures taken by various countries to counter the spread of fake news.

The participants, including 85 journalists from 53 countries, will debate the different perspectives on the future of the media in a world where fake news have been using speed, emotions and people of influence to become as dangerous as the virus itself. They will also ponder efforts to restore media credibility and to develop ways of sharing successful policies and measures.

On Tuesday, the conference will review papers and presentations on the global responses to COVID-19 and disease control methods. Several countries will share their experiences on the measures taken to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, including setting up quarantine centers and leveraging technology for monitoring and tracing.

Examples of how countries secured the safety of journalists covering COVID-19 and how they ensured the right of people to know what was happening as virus-related developments unfolded will be highlighted.

The participants will assess the success of such measures and people’s compliance with them.

On September 16, the participants will discuss peace strategies on the Korean Peninsula on the 70th anniversary of the Korean War and will review the role of journalists in improving inter-Korean relations and promoting peace.

The event will include alongside the media professionals, university professors and medical experts who will present papers, answer questions and take part in the debates.

The conference was scheduled for March, but was postponed several times before a final decision to hold it exceptionally online for international participants was taken.

“In light of the COVID-19 outbreak early this year, the Journalists Association of Korea (JAK) has postponed the World Journalists Conference, which normally takes place in spring, to autumn,” JAK President Kim Dong Hoon said.

“It is regrettable that the event will be held online, but it will be an in-depth conference addressing major issues around the world.”

The conference is a significant platform where journalists from all over the world and who are spreading the truth with a cool mind and a warm heart can gather together and share their thoughts openly, he added.

“The conference will discuss in depth examples of fake news in different countries and what measures thy took to counter this global problem, as well as the future of journalism. In the session, we will discuss how we can improve the validity and reliability of the media,” he said.

“The second topic will cover global responses to COVID-19 and disease control methods. It will identify the roles that the media can assume in putting an end to the pandemic across the world by highlighting effective disease control systems and by examining other cases.”

The third topic will be in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Korean War and a panel discussion comprising various experts will discuss the way relations between North Korea and South Korea can be improved and eventually peace can be achieved both on the Korean Peninsula and across the world, he added.

“The three-day gathering, although short in time, does offer a valuable opportunity to contribute to the development of journalism, acquire a better understanding of Korea, and reinforce networks with other journalists,” the JAK president said.

Since its launch in 2013, this year’s event is the eighth World Journalists Conference. The Journalists Association of Korea, established in 1964, has more than 10,000 members from hundreds of media companies.

It has recently celebrated its 56th anniversary with a pledge to build further on the achievements accomplished over more than five decades by its founders and members.

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