South Korea hosts World Journalists Conference 2015

Baku, April 28, AZERTAC

World Journalists Conference 2015 was held in the Republic of Korea from April 12 to 18.

The event brought together about 100 journalists from 60 countries. Azerbaijan was represented by employee of Azerbaijan State News Agency – AZERTAC Orkhan Karimov.

The opening ceremony of the conference titled “The 70th anniversary of National Division: Think about unification of the Korean Peninsula” was held on April 13.

Opening the ceremony, President of the Journalists Association of Korea (JAK) Park Chong-Ryul welcomed the event participants. He also briefed the journalists about the Journalists Association of Korea. “The JAK is the largest organization of professional journalists from 200 news outlets.”

The President of the JAK said: “Despite differences in nationality, gender, race, religion and ideology, we have something in common. That is, we are journalists.”

He expressed hope that “the World Journalists Conference could become the opportunity to share friendship and remind you of the true meaning of journalism”.

Then, South Korean Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Kim Jongdeok and President of the International Federation of Journalists Jim Boumelha delivered congratulatory remarks.

Minister Kim Jongdeok expressed hope that World Journalists Conference 2015 would become a venue for the discussion of measures aimed at a peaceful unification of the Korean Peninsula.

Mr. Jim Boumelha put an emphasis on the safety of journalists around the world and on the importance of balanced reporting.

The event participants also watched an introduction video of Korea.

The opening ceremony also featured Korean Folk Dance, Seoljangguchum and Folk Music, Samulnori.

The event was continued with the first special session entitled “Changing regional order in Northeast Asia and the future of the Korean Peninsula”.

Speaker of the session was Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Korea Cho Tae-yul.

“The theme of today’s discussion, Korea’s reunification, is not a mere dream, but a future that the Korean people are committed to realizing. Pope John Paul II famously remarked that “the future starts today, not tomorrow”. “The future belongs to those preparing for it at this very moment. If we fail to properly prepare for the future today, then we will painfully regret having lost the golden opportunity for Korean reunification. I hope that today’s event will be an opportunity to gather our wisdom to prevent such regret.”

During the opening ceremony, the conference participants unanimously adopted the “Declaration of World Journalists for the Peaceful Unification of Korea and Freedom of Speech,” which transcends nationality, gender, race, religion and ideology.

In the declaration, the participants stated that “Based on this understanding and marking the 70th anniversary of Korean independence and the division of Korea, 100 journalists from 60 countries who are participating in the World Journalists Conference 2015 wish for a new spring of peace and unification on the Korean Peninsula.”

They also stated that, “In the meantime, terrorist attacks and brutal violence against media and journalists have continued, as we've seen from attacks on Charlie Hebdo, a French weekly magazine. Terrorist attacks against media and journalists are not tolerated under any circumstances because freedom of speech and freedom of expression are irreplaceable values that were achieved by the blood and sweat of humankind.”

Moderated by Jin Park, Endowed Chair Professor of Department of U-Peace, Former Chairman, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Unification Committee of the National Assembly, the conference titled “The 70th anniversary of National Division: Think about unification of the Korean Peninsula” kicked off.

Speakers of the conference were Taewon Ha, Assistant Editor for Political Desk, Dong-A Ilbo, Korea, Timothy Keith MCCREADY, Trade Correspondent, NZ Inc, New Zealand, Andrew Salmon, Freelance Reporter and Author, UK, Andrey Yashlavskiy, Foreign Desk Editor, Moskovsky Komsomolets (MK) Newspaper, Russia and Yong Zhang, Deputy Director General for External Relations, People`s Daily, China.

The topic of the 2nd special session was “Trust based diplomacy to improve inter-Korean dialogues”.

Addressing the event, chairperson of the Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea Na Kyung-won stressed the importance of restoring dialogue between the South and the North.

Mayor of Seoul Park Won-soon hosted a welcome dinner for the participants of the World Journalists Conference 2015.

The 2nd conference entitled “Freedom of press and safety in journalism” was held on April 15 in Busan Metropolitan City.

The event was moderated by Deputy Managing Editor of the Korea Times Shim Jae-yun.

Speakers at the event included Harold Hyman, Geopolitical Commentator, BFMTV, France, Kim Hong-kook, Le Monde Diplomatique, Korea, Karla Lorena Lopez Ferro, Coeditor of International News, Grupo Reforma, Mexico, Hinde Pomeraniec, Columnist, La Nacion Newspaper, Argentina and Fikrte Gebreamlak Sisay, Domestic Media Monitoring and Analysis Senior Expert, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Government Communications Affairs Office.

After the conference, Mayor of Busan Metropolitan City Suh Byung-soo hosted a dinner for the event participants.

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