“Rep. Song underestimated media experts.”
This is what Vincent Peyregne, CEO of the World Newspaper Association (WAN-IFRA), had to say in an email interview with The Dong-A Ilbo and its sister TV network Channel A on Thursday. He made the remarks on ruling Democratic Party leader Song Young-gil’s statement “They know nothing.” After Reporters Without Border (RSF) made a statement criticizing the Democratic Party’s amendment bill to the press arbitration act, Song said Wednesday, “How would they know our (Korea’s) situation. They know nothing.”
“Democratic Party leader Song apparently failed to read many reports that we were involved in writing,” Peyregne said. He thus indicated that Song would not have made such remarks if he knew that the crisis of ‘widespread fake information’ that the new press arbitration bill seeks to crack down is something that the entire world is facing rather than a problem only Korea is suffering, and that media organizations worldwide are conducting research together to address it.
“Hopefully, Song understands the ruling party’s attempt to railroad the bill that is so unusual in context and that deviates from Korea’s legislative tradition is damaging good reputation (Korea) is enjoying among international partners,” he said.
In a video conference with The Dong-A Ilbo on Wednesday, Cédric Alviani, RSF’s East Bureau chief, also expressed concern, saying, “Korea is one of the most advanced democracies in the world. (If the revision bill passes the National Assembly), it will create a precedence and other countries could exploit it.”
On the content of the bill, CEO Peyregne said, “It damages important values of journalism that imposes transparency and responsibility on the government and companies that are abusing their power.”