[EDITORIALS]The truth is our missionThe Joongang Ilbo has returned a Journalist of the Month Award that it received for a feature series, “Union Now.” We want to make clear that the direction of Korea’s media does not depend on a certain tendency but is led by the pursuit of the truth, and we hope our position serves as an opportunity for journalists to study the practices of the nation’s news outlets.
With more than 50 days of legwork by five reporters, the 12-part series was a comprehensive project based on hundreds of interviews. At the awards ceremony on June 26, the judges said that “while there were objections that the series was written from a pro-management perspective, the majority agreed that newspapers need to explore a variety of views, and this series is highly thorough.” Apparently, the judges had ample discussion in making their decision. But the Journalists Association of Korea, which sponsors the award, issued a belated public apology signed by its president, saying it had made a mistake in awarding the JoongAng Ilbo the prize. This can only be interpreted that the Journalists Association of Korea had surrendered to the pressures of pro-labor groups, including the press union. Considering that the award is made in the association’s name only (the judges are retired journalists and university professors) it should have remained neutral. Since its establishment in 1965, the Journalists Association of Korea has been the only organization of working journalists in the country, advocating for the protection of free speech. Throughout difficult times the association never gave up this mission. The efforts of the media in the pursuit of truth cannot be undermined by any organization, nor can it be underrated for the sake of a certain interest group. Journalists must never forget that they are on the side of neither labor nor management. We are people seeking the truth.