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Resistance Media: The Echo of An Era

Through the media, the eyes and ears of the masses, the majority of people see, understand, and judge events. Thus, dominating groups have tried to take control over the media. Even if it is dark, sound still transmits through space, and when the sound is blocked, it still returns as an echo and tell us about the existence of let`s say mountains and caves. Among a variety of sounds, let`s find out more about the echo that tell us about the existence of mountains and caves, the  Resistance Media.

Resistance Media, The Echo by Suppression. As there have been many dictatorships and social irrationalities throughout world history, there were also various echoes. One of the best-known examples can be the disclosures on PRISM Project. A man named Edward Snowden had disclosed through British newspaper , secret information on global surveillance program which the United States government had been running. This indiscreet information gathering system was called ‘PRISM’, which was designed to prevent future danger such as 9/11 attack and to reveal dangerous people in advance by the United States. Snowden exposed this huge human rights violation project. The press has accused the absurd actions of the US to the world. Edward Snowden was the echo of that irrationality.

There was some echo in Germany. Former President Walter Wulff`s resignation was that echo. It was reported that when he was Governor of Lower Saxony, he bought a house by taking a bank loan with a lower interest rate than the market rate and he borrowed a lot of money from his business friend. Then, president Wulff made a threatening phone call to the chief editor of Bild, a German newspaper, because he didn`t want them to write anarticle about his irregularity. But the chief editor of Bild did not surrender to intimidation. He exposed not only the president`s corruption but also the threatening phone call. For that reason, Wulff resigned voluntarily.

Resistance Media is also in Korean history. Just as resistance comes from oppression, the resistance media comes from repression. Even in dark domestic circumstances, the people who research cold, hard facts and to reveal the truth are resistance media. Here are some examples of resistance media in Korea.

Jeguk Newspaper

When Japan started to interfere in the domestic affairs of Korea, there were some voices criticizing corrupt officials and the Korean government that were penetrated by Japan. That was the The Jeguk Newspaper which was launched in 1898. The most important feature of The Jeguk Newspaper was written in pure Hangul, which was the Korea people`s language. So, this newspaper could let all the people know about various absurdities. A typical article in The Jeguk Newspaper was “The fact Korean have mishap” by Seongman Lee, which was an article aboutJapan`s brutality. This led to a fierce debate with the Japanese newspaper, The Hanseong Newspaper. Eventually, in 1905, they also criticized about the pro-Japanese association, Iljinhoe. Due to this article, their publication was suspended for an indefinite period by Japan. This publication suspension was the first in Korea. For this suspension, The Jeguk Newspaper was discontinued in 1910. But The Jeguk Newspaper was the voice of the era that did not hesitate to criticize Japan for the/ Korean people.

Hwangseong Newspaper

In 1898, there was The Hwangseong Newspaper another echo along with The Jeguk Newspaper, The Hwangseong Newspaper was written in Chinese characters, which was the language of intellectual class of Korea. The history of The Hwangseong Newspaper is a history of struggle. In 1904, The Hwangseong Newspaper wrote an article about The Japan-Korea Treaty of 1904, but after press censorship on stories about the Japanese Army, that article was eliminated. So, The Hwangseong Newspaper was printed in reverse type. So, that article looked like a black brick. This was the first appearance of a brick newspaper article that was the symbol of resistance media in Korea. In 1904, Japan requested the exploitation of barren lands in Korea, but The Hwangseong Newspaper announced the unfairness of that request, and they succeeded in defeating Japan`s requirement. In 1905, there was The Protectorate Treaty between Korea and Japan. The Hwangseong Newspaper published an article titled ”I Wail Bitterly Today”, which was written by Jang Jiyeon, the President of The Hwangseong Newspaper, to display the irrationality of that Treaty. On November 20, the newspaper published with “I Wail Bitterly Today” and it was dispatched without prior censorship by the Japanese National Police Agency. For this reason, Jang Jiyeon and his employees were arrestedand The Hwangseong Newspaper was suspended from publication for an indefinite period.

Korea Daily News

Unlike the previous two resistance media outlets I mentioned above, The Korea Daily News was launched in 1904 by Bethell, a British publisher. At that time, Korea media people noticed urgent situations in the Russo-Japanese War. So, they launched The Korea Daily News. At first, was an English newspaper which argued with , English newspaper, published by Japanese Resident-General of Korea. In time, The Korea Daily News published Korean articles too, Thanks to Bethell, they could exercise his extraterritoriality. They could provide more criticism than other media outlets without precensorship about Japan. So, they could bepublished even with persistent critisism

Today

There is resistance media in The Republic of Korea today. At the end of last year, a case that had a great impact on Korean democracy was revealed. It is called ‘The Choi Soonsilgate’ or ‘President Park’s Scandal’. Resistance media revealed this corruption. Josun reported about Woo Byeongwoo, The Senior Secretary to the President for Civil Affairs, and his personal corruption, TV Josun revealed information about The Mir Foundation and The K sports Foundation and reported about the irregularity of both. Hankyoreh first revealed a link between both foundations and Choi Soonsil. And began publishing articles about those irregularities. Finally, JTBC revealed a link between Choi Soonsil and President Park. For these reasons, there was a huge candlelight rally in Seoul, and finally President Park`s impeachment proposal was passed.

Resistance Media, has been against various absurd dominating groups. They are afraid to accuse the irrationality of the ruling class in front of the same dominating group. Did the Resistance Media not think “Why do I need to…...” every second? But they still reported irrationalities. We must not forget their resolution for the people, the hand that holds the pen.

This article does not mean that we should trust the media blindly. As not all sounds are echoes, not all media is‘resistant’. There will be obedient media just as there are resistant media, and there will be corrupt media as there isclean media. This can be seen from the case mentioned above, on President Park’s scandal. It is not true that the resistance media has more power or more information compared to other media sources. This writer does not believe so. Although the resistance media has been described as noble self-sacrificing, there are many which arenoble and many which are not so noble. Unconditional acceptance of any media source directs us to become ignorant citizens. Remember, not all media are kind, and not all information is the truth.

Park Cheoljoo  cjfwn001@naver.com

<저작권자 © 홍익대영자신문사, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>

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