Posted April. 07, 2017 07:17,
Updated April. 07, 2017 07:23
The Dong-A Ilbo conducted a thorough analysis on 10 “open chat rooms” of presidential election on Kakao Talk from March 30 to April 6. The result shows that seven out of them had fake news in their chat rooms. Fake news refers to information that is falsely circulated as if the information was actually reported through official media. Open chat rooms where anyone with Kakao Talk membership IDs are allowed to write posts have emerged as a new distribution channel that spreads fake news circulated through social network services in an omnidirectional manner.
Fake news is no more than a fraud to general public as it makes use of public confidence by implying that the story comes from well-known public figures unlike false propaganda in the past. Some say that fake news during last year's U.S. presidential election such as “Pope Francis endorses Republican candidate Donald Trump” and “Hillary Clinton is implicated in an organization of sexual exploitation of children” wielded considerable influence on election result. This is the reason that Germany up for its general election in September is currently drafting a bill that imposes a prison sentence on anyone who produces fake news and monetary fine of some 500,000 euros (approx. 630 million Korean won) to those who either carry or transfer the fake news.
The online survey in Korea conducted by the Korea Press Foundation late last month showed that some 76 percent of adults respondents said that they are suspicious of the news even when the news are validated ones just because they have been frequently exposed to fake news. The Hyundai Research Institute has recently assumed that social cost incurred by damaged social confidence and divided national consensus caused by fake news amounts to some 30 trillion won (approx. 26.5 billion U.S. dollars) each year. While fake news is expected to get even more prevalent up for the presidential election on May 9, Korea has no regulation that controls fake news. The National Election Commission is said to have concluded a discussion with Facebook Korea that Facebook would delete any posts with fake news upon being detected on its site and submit relevant document and information to the commission. No such document or information have been submitted so far.
Today marks the 61st Newspapers Day. Paradoxically, the prevalence of fake news reminds us of the importance of newspaper and its roles. The most convincing way to filter out the fake news from the genuine ones is to check whether the news was reported by trustworthy newspaper with the name of reporter who wrote the story. A backbone of Korean media, the Dong-A Ilbo is determined to fulfill its mission and responsibilities of journalism whose job is to report nothing but the truth for the sake of readers’ right to know. The newspaper as a faithful social tool will fight against and defeat fake news with accurate reports and thoughtful analysis.