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[Editorial] What Is The Government Information Agency Doing?

[Editorial] What Is The Government Information Agency Doing?

Posted July. 23, 2001 09:52,   


It is urgent to take countermeasures against the circulation of the contents filled with prejudice in the foreign Internet sites which introduce South Korea.

The Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) said that there were problems with the national publicity in the cyber space after a special audit on the tourism since the year 2001 is Visit Korea Year and the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Therefore, the BAI said it planned to command the Government Information Agency (GIA) and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to correct the faults.

It is furious to see how negatively South Korea is portrayed in the examples of faults pointed out by the BAI. South Korea is portrayed as such in some sites; `South Korea is rampant with fraud`; `Dogs and cats are slaughtered nationwide in South Korea`; `there is a danger of volcanic eruption in Jeju`. One site describes South Korea as if it is a `heaven of contagious diseases` saying that ``various vaccination is necessary before visit to South Korea due to hepatitis, typhoid, and infantile paralysis.``

Due to these incorrect sites, South Korea’s foreign image is damaged. It is evitable that tourists or foreign investors perceive South Korea as a `country where one does not want to go`. It is concerning that how the negative perception of South Korea would affect the next year`s Korea-Japan World Cup game.

However, those incorrect contents are spreading and continue to be reproduced without correction. What are the GIA and the related ministries doing?

In contrast, the GIA is taking active measures with regard to the recent domestic issues. The GIA has been taking active measures, such as demands for the correction or the right of counterargument against the critical report by the media in relation to the tax investigation of the media companies for the last couple of months. Of course, the GIA is running a `corner to report the incorrect information` through the overseas information agency. It also said that it found 947 sites with incorrect information on South Korea and 116 have been redressed.

However, this is not sufficient. For example, 300 sites still describe the East Sea as the Sea of Japan. It is questionable as to what the GIA has been doing. The GIA in fact confesses that it has the limitation due to the shortage of budget and the human resources. Does this mean that the GIA can be so active in terms of the domestic information because it has sufficient budget and the human resources? Since Internet is an important tool of information, incorrect information that damages the image of South Korea should be corrected as soon as possible to inform South Korea correctly. We hope that the GIA will take active and prompt measures.