South Korea

Yong Jin Kim: Nonprofit Investigative Journalism Is the Answer

Interview with the investigative journalist Yong Jin Kim of South Korea

Around the turn of the millennium, Yong Jin Kim organized and led the first investigative unit in Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), the country's public media broadcaster and the biggest media group in South Korea. In 2013, frustrated by the constant need to fight the muzzles put on investigative journalism in mainstream news media, Mr Kim co-founded the Korea Center for Investigative Journalism (KCIJ), an independent outfit specializing in investigative reporting. He is now KCIJ’s editor-in-chief.
 
Mr Kim’s investigations mainly cover topics related to human rights, criminal justice, media and foreign affairs. One of the stories of which he is most proud is an investigation into how the Korean intelligence agency NIS helped big corporations to prevent people involved in trade unions from getting jobs. NIS is one of the most powerful spy agencies in South Korea, and, since 2013, KCIJ has followed how the agency has abused its power. Kim’s investigation uncovered the involvement of the agency in the 2012 presidential election, when NIS tried to influence public opinion through social media.
 

Internet Is Censored in Two-Thirds of the World

Many believe the Internet equals freedom of information. Recently, that has been less and less the case.
 
Maung Saung Kha, a 23-year old poet from Myanmar, was relieved last May to hear that he would be released from prison. On 24 May 2016, Mr Saung Kha was sentenced to six months in jail for defaming Myanmar’s former president Thein Sein, but because he had already spent six months behind bars, he was freed the same day.
 
His crime: posting a poem on Facebook in which a newlywed was baffled to see a tattoo featuring Myanmar’s former president on her husband’s genitals. The husband in the poem was Mr Saung Kha. In other parts of the world, such a poem would trigger a smile. But in Myanmar, authorities took this seriously. Using provisions on defamation from the telecommunications law, they justified imprisonment of the young bard in the Insein jail near Yangon, Myanmar’s capital city.