The sinking of the Sewol one year ago highlighted, among several other issues, the failure of the Korean media to report on the unfolding situation in an accurate and professional manner. Korea’s second-largest newspaper, the JoongAng Ilbo, published a full-page apology to its readers soon after the disaster, seeking forgiveness for its faulty reporting.
Our guest for this episode, John Francis Power, argues that this is only one of many examples of the various issues plaguing the Korean news landscape. In a feature article he wrote for Groove Korea last year, John depicts an industry under pressure from both government and corporate interests, and where investigative journalism and rigorous reporting are often discouraged.
John Power is an Irish journalist based in Seoul since 2010. He has written over 200 articles on a broad range of Korea-related topics, including food safety, domestic violence, politics, libel law, rail safety and various other issues. John has worked for The Korea Herald and Yonhap News, and has published his work in several international media outlets, including Christian Science Monitor, The Diplomat, the BBC, Australia’s ABC and Ireland’s RTE.
I certainly wouldn’t say that journalists, or newspapers, or media in Korea never criticize the government. However, I would say that there are consequences to criticizing the government in Korea […] that, naturally, will weight on anyone who cares about self-preservation.
The interview was conducted on April 1st in Seoul.