Letter of Candidacy – VP of Seoul (Tae-hoon Lee)

Many journalists in South Korea, including myself, have long been forced to work as the government’s mouthpiece and now increasingly for family-run chaebols. It is no secret that local journalists have no choice but to write state-funded or chaebol-backed advertorials without any mention of them being paid content if they want to keep their job as media companies’ dependence on paid articles continues to grow.

I’d like to make or at least to try to create an environment where journalists who pluck up the courage and play the role of a watchdog get the praise that they deserve, instead of being demoted or fired.

I’d also like to make efforts to encourage AAJA members and other journalists to serve as the voice for the voiceless and throw parties to recognize their good work and also have fun.

Are we so helpless in bringing about change? I don’t think so. Together we can rightfully point out unethical practices in the Korean media industry. In South Korea, freelance journalists and foreign correspondents are often restricted from accessing information readily available to local reporters. This is wrong, but we will continue to be denied of information unless we demand for change.

If elected, I will run hands-on courses in new media and journalism skills by inviting fellow AAJA members and leading experts. I will make the N3Con in Seoul as an event which where AAJA members will tell the world that ethical journalism can take root in South Korea.

I’d also like to run workshops where we not only raise awareness about important issues, including defamation lawsuits against journalists and unfair dismissal of journalists, but also horn our journalistic skills.

Tae-hoon Lee, Seoul – candidate for VP of Seoul