Korea’s PM hails journalists’ commitments in WJC 2020 opening remarks

Korea’s Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun delivering his opening remarks at WJC 2020

Korea’s Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun delivering his opening remarks at WJC 2020

SEOUL: World Journalists Conference 2020 (WJC 2020) got off to a flying start with Korea’s Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun expressing special support to journalists during the trying times of COVID-19 and sharing his hope that the international gathering will serve as a venue of wisdom to reaffirm the importance of journalism.

The annual conference was this year held online due to the travel and isolation restrictions imposed by COVID-19.

“Despite its relatively short history of eight years, the World Journalists Conference has been hailed as a shining example of public diplomacy, the prime minister said in a televised address to the participants.

“I would like to express my appreciation for the hard work of President Dong Hoon Kim and members of the Korea Journalist Association, who managed to put together this meaningful event in these difficult times.”

PM Chung Sye-kyun said that the siege of the world by an epidemic unprecedented in modern times and the subsequent economic recession were compounded by fake news that spreads like wildfire.

He told journalists that he was well aware that in order to avoid inhibiting freedom of expression, regulations that address fake news need to be tailored with a high level of precision.

“This perspective has driven the Korean government’s response to COVID-19 fake news. To the extent that such misinformation poses a serious social problem threatening the health and safety of citizens, the government is making the utmost effort in preventive measures to avert an infodemic,” he said.

“Fake news poses such a real threat to human lives and that should sound an alarm. I believe this demonstrates how vital trustworthy information is. In this regard, allow me to extend my respect to all the journalists around the world joining in this worthwhile occasion.”

He highlighted that while digital technology enables everyone to produce news,  “the flood of information paradoxically throws into sharp relief the value of journalism.”

The three-day conference features three major themes – Fake news and the future of journalism, global responses to COVID-19 and disease control methods and the 70th anniversary of the Korean War and peace policy on the Korean Peninsula.

According to Chung Sye-kyun, permanent peace on the Korean peninsula is “a noble goal and mission that South and North Korea must achieve.”

“In fact, the COVID-19 crisis has laid bare the reality that the two Koreas constitute not only a shared community of fates but a shared community of life in terms of public health. I ask for your continued support of our resolute journey towards a ‘Korean peninsula of life and peace’,” he said.

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