Doggedly pursuing truthThe 2018 year of the dog has begun. We embrace the new year with a heavy heart due to our severely divided society, polarized economy and insecure security front with nuclear threats from our own race. We cannot easily share words of well wishes for the new year.
We have finished a tumultuous year. We removed a president. President Moon Jae-in was elected at the peak of our desperation. He vowed to unite this nation in his inauguration speech. The public euphoria and expectations for a new era have been dashed upon seeing the ghost of arrogance and self-justice in Moon’s power. His approach — income-led growth, nuclear power phase-out, and engagement policy towards nuclear-armed North Korea — has so far deepened the national division.
Apart from the upcoming Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, nothing looks rosy for the country. Society is losing steam as the aging population and low birthrate pick up speed. The hopeless young generation calls the nation a living hell. Pyongyang under reckless leader Kim Jong-un is close to perfecting a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile that could threaten lives across the Pacific. Korea is sandwiched between nationalistic leaders Donald Trump and Xi Jinping.
The country is bedeviled by ideological, generational, class and regional conflicts. There is no room for compromise and dialogue. No society can be conflict-free. All democratic societies bear conflicts as they are proof of free expression and pursuit of individual interests. Korea, which has undergone staggering economic and political development, is an expert on prevailing over conflicts by using it as a dynamic impetus for evolution. The problem is that conflict and polarization have deepened.
We must seek a breakthrough and solution in the core. The JoongAng Ilbo is launching a new campaign calling for centralism. We must pursue the middle ground by bringing together the extreme right and left poles. Centralism does not mean the gray area. If we cannot go beyond divisiveness, there is no future for Korea.
Fake news breeds confrontations and feeds on polarization. It proliferates on social media disguised as facts. Fake news shared and spread among groups with homogenous interests deepens confirmation bias.
We must uphold facts. The truth has the power to prevail. Journalists must do their best to deliver truthful news based on objectivity and fairness to ensure the public right to know. We vow to be the window of truth.
JoongAng Ilbo, Jan. 1, Page 26