SEOUL, Jun. 8 (Korea Bizwire) — As South and North Korea continue to reconcile their differences, those in South Korea’s media circles are working behind the scenes to resume exchanges with North Korean press halted more than a decade ago.
Experts also say it is essential to for South Korean journalists to meet with their North Korean counterparts on a regular basis to prevent inaccurate reports on North Korea.
Dispatching South Korean journalists to the North is another suggestion aimed at minimizing such differences.
Earlier attempts to promote exchange between the two Koreas in the media sector date back to 2002, when Yonhap News Agency and the Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) signed a cooperative agreement with the Korean Central News Agency and Korean Central Television, both North Korean state-owned media outlets.
According to a source familiar with the situation, there were fewer speculative news reports during the Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun administrations because the South-North exchange made it possible for South Korean journalists to check facts with the North.
The source went on to say that “regular meetings” between both parties are important and the government must pave the way for this to happen.
While South Korean media are completely excluded from access to the hermit kingdom, only two foreign press members have a presence in North Korea: Associated Press (AP) and Agence France-Presse (AFP).
For South Korean journalists who have no choice but to rely on AP and AFP for sources on North Korean stories, gaining direct access to North Korean communication channels has been a long-sought dream.
The Ministry of Unification has disclosed that a number of South Korean media outlets have applied to open up bureaus in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang but cautioned it was up to North Korea to accept and approve the applications.
Experts say the media exchange between West and East Germany may serve as an example for similar exchanges between South and North Korea.
According to Professor Kim Yeong-uk of KAIST, West and East Germany co-produced a current affairs program to help the public better understand pending issues.
“Just as West and East Germany did, the two Koreas should actively pursue exchanges in the press,” Kim said.
H. S. Seo (email@example.com)