KUALA LUMPUR: The World Journalists Conference 2020 (WJC 2020) got off to a flying start in Seoul on Monday, with South 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 eighth WJC is held online this year due to travel and isolation restrictions imposed by Covid-19, according to a report published in The Asian.
“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.
He added that the siege of the world by an epidemic unprecedented in modern times and the subsequent economic recession was compounded by fake news that spreads like wildfire.
He also 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.
“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 added.
Meanwhile, Journalists Association of Korea (JAK) president Dong Hoon Kim had highlighted commitment of journalists to the truth despite the formidable challenges posed by the spread of Covid-19 and fake news.
“Although we may have different genders, skin colours, and ideologies, we still share some commonalities. We, journalists, all work hard to make the truth known with a warm heart and a cool mind, ultimately for peace and freedom,” he said at the opening of WJC 2020 in Seoul.
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.
Established in 1964, the Journalists Association of Korea is the nation’s biggest association of journalists with more than 10,000 journalists from 188 media companies as members. -Bernama