The Role of Democracy and the Press in South Korea and Turkey| South Korea-Turkey Mutual Understanding Seminar Series.
On April 22nd, 2015, at the Samick Hall of SNUAC, a seminar of the South Korea-Turkey Mutual Understanding Seminar Series was hosted on the topic, “The role of democracy and the press in South Korea and Turkey.” With Professor Rhee, June Woong (Seoul National University, Department of Communication) as the mediator, Abdulhamit Bilici (Director of Cihan News Agency in Turkey) and Professor Kim, Sung Hae (Daegu University, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication) presented on topics about the role of the press, respectively: “The role and problem of the press in Turkey’s democratization process” and “The history of South Korea’s press democratization and challenges.”
Director Bilici suggested a number of problems regarding the freedom of the press that Turkey had for decades due to its authoritarian regime. He explained that in Turkey, the press is not an element of democracy, but rather regarded as a means to spread the government’s ideology to the people of Turkey. As a result, it is difficult to enjoy freedom and independence. He added that it is true that there are some journalists who raise their voice in opposition to government in Turkey, but the independence of press is hindered by the government’s regulation as well as given to preferential treatment to ‘pro-government press’.
Professor Kim also pointed out the similarity between Turkey and South Korea regarding the form of the government in the era of democratic transition. He stated that Korea also had similar government regulations back in history. More Specifically, he demonstrates that there are numerous cases that show that Korea’s journalism still lags behind even after decades have passed, as the Korean press went through Korean War and financial crisis.
In the following Q&A session, Professor Kim claimed that the developmental characteristics of the past Korean government has been continuing until now : regulating the press through collusive links between government and the press. He added that the current government should establish its own press regulations on the press. In addition, director Bilici mentioned about ‘Trust’ on the press in Turkey, which is a major issue, and pointed out that the press have to make an effort to keep its ‘democratic’ rules. He also proposed to some suggestions to support the press in order to create high-quality news contents.
In short, the press in our society have greatly influences public opinion and have play an important role in delivering diverse facts to the people. In this context, this seminar was very interesting to learn that Turkey is currently experiencing the government regulation and intervention in the press similar to what South Korea had gone through in the past. It was an opportunity to learn how important the role of the press is, and it is possible to realize that a good environment should be created in which the press can have its independent stance and position.