[Campus Commentary]Reporting on the dark side of society

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[Campus Commentary]Reporting on the dark side of society

As a student reporter at my school, I have experienced a side of society unknown to most college students.
I have observed a variety of situations and heard diverse voices ― including activists in various fields, laborers claiming rights, the disabled struggling against discrimination and much more.
When I met an environmental activist as I covered a story about reckless development, I asked, “Why is reckless development prevalent even though there are obvious negative effects?”
He simply answered, “Developers have very close relationships with politicians and officials.”
This meant that although senior officials well know the damage that can come from thoughtless growth, they still allow it.
The more people I met, the more I saw the dark side of society; problems are often ignored in the pursuit of profit.
On one occasion, I interviewed the vice president of the Incheon Women’s Hotline, a women’s rights advocacy group, and heard shocking stories about international marriages.
According to her group, brokers controlled the flow of foreign women hoping to immigrate to Korea and also extorted money from the women.
Behind the exploitation is a feckless government which is supposed to regulate those brokers but may actually be enabling them, she said.
She claimed poor women are being lured to Korea not only by illegal agencies, but also the government ― whose responsibility it is to protect citizens.
I once got the chance to visit an Iraqi home for an interview.
It was a chance to reexamine the so-called evil powers on the move in global society.
The Iraqi woman I talked to said she doesn’t believe the media.
One reason she gave that surprised me was that there was no conflict between the Sunnis and the Shiites in Iraq before the U.S. occupation.
She said the struggles of Sunni against Shiite being reported in the media were not true and that they actually arose after the U.S. invasion.
Talking to her filled me with sorrow.
The more people I reported on and interviewed, the more the dark side of society was revealed to me.
I see that there’s a lot of prejudice, discrimination and a great gap between the rich and the poor in the world.
The law of the jungle prevails in our society.
But I don’t think it is wrong for me to give up hope for a brighter future and a more peaceful society.
Through my coverage activities, I realized there are many people who have endeavored to change society despite its unpleasant side.
I also have friends my age with whom I can speak honestly about our worries for this world.
It is a great comfort to have concern companions to worry with.
Although we can’t change society this instant, at the very least we can take note of the dark side and share this with our student readers, rather than deploring our situation and saying that we cannot change the world.
I do not want to be a hypocrite who only speaks out and does not act.

*The writer is a reporter for The Argus, a newspaper at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.

by Mun Hyeon-gyeong
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