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‘Media Should Regain Trust’

This is the translation of a report published in the Japanese daily newspaper Sekai Nippo about the International Media Association for Peace webinar.

The International Media Association for Peace (IMAP), in which media outlets and journalists from around the world cooperate toward realization of permanent peace, held a webinar under the theme “The Role of the Media in Peacebuilding on the Korean Peninsula: The Perspective of Japan and Europe" and provided a forum in which journalists and experts from Japan and Europe exchanged opinions.

Lutfi Dervishi, Albania's journalist and prominent host of a political debate program, pointed out that Albania, once a communist country, was called "North Korea in Europe." He said, “In a country where journalism is 100 percent propaganda, the truth is the first to be sacrificed,” and emphasized the importance of journalism that conveys the truth to the people.

He mentioned as an example that fake news spread on the Internet contributed to the turmoil when a major earthquake struck Albania in 2019.  He said, "When I think about the implications of fake news in the Korean Peninsula, one of the most militarized regions in the world, I feel scared."  He argued that the challenge that traditional media face today is "to be a reliable source of information and to deal with disinformation."

Toshio Miyatsuka, the representative of the Miyatsuka Korea Research Institute, mentioned about the propaganda fliers that South Korea and North Korea scatter as part of a "information and propaganda war” and pointed out, "They are important means for North Koreans living under a closed super-dictatorship to obtain outside information. They are indispensable media for freedom, democracy, and human rights."  He insisted that "in addition to newspapers, television and the Internet, fliers scattered from the sky also play a major role as a means of appealing to North Korea for the need for denuclearization."

Humphrey Hawksley of the British BBC, who authored a book on China's advance into the South China Sea, said, "The Korean Peninsula is compared to the unification of Germany, but it is unlikely that the Korean Peninsula is unified due to the collapse of China like the Soviet Union."

Masahiro Kuroki, president of the Sekai Nippo, said, "The Korean Peninsula and Europe share the common denominator of the divided nation, namely the division of North and South Korea and East and West Germany. Europe's experience and knowledge for regional peacebuilding will be of great help to Japan as a reference."

In the seminar, Thomas McDevitt, chairman of The Washington Times, gave a greeting, and former BBC Asia editor Rita Payne served as the moderator.

IMAP was launched in Seoul in February last year, and the Japan Secretariat is operated by the Sekai Nippo.

(Detailed information on this webinar will be posted at a later date.)

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