[RANT] The Sewol Ferry Sinking Incident and the Surrounding Media Frenzy


I wasn’t planning on blogging about the Sewol ferry sinking incident but as usual, I’m reading stuff online and it stirs up certain thoughts and sentiments that I decided to break away from the fan girl type posts to write something more serious and somber.

So if you didn’t know, a cruise ferry with about 475 people on board capsized and sank somewhere near Gwangmaedo en route from Incheon to Jeju Island around 8.58 am (Korean Standard Time) on 16 April 2014.

This particular incident is interesting and yet heart breaking to follow because majority of the passengers on board were students from Danwon High School on a field trip.

What made this incident really interesting to me was how much discrepancies there were between the major news coverage about the sunken ferry and the things I am reading off my favourite Netizen News source, Twitter.

It has been widely reported in the news (with pictures) that there were hundreds of rescue vessels and divers on site with the rescue operations but yet on Twitter, Netizens have retweeted tweets from the relatives of the ferry passengers(?)/someone on the ground calling the news reports lies and mentioned that there was only a handful of vessels and divers on site in reality.

So, reading such conflicting versions of the reality, which one is accurate then?

Generally, I’m inclined to go with the major news agencies but truth be told, I am completely well aware of how good at marketing South Korea is at and I’m also well aware of the amount of propaganda that the South Korean government puts out on a daily basis for their own national(?) interests.

On the other hand, it is is also probably true that the relatives’ version of the reality could be warped by emotions and they were not given a clear status update by the authorities the way the MH370 authorities have constantly briefed the relatives of the passengers.

So, reading the various news sources, who should one believe? There is no clear or simple answer and really, do not believe everything that you read/hear about in the media/online. I’m going to just read everything with a level of skepticism.

That said, we have always expect news from the big names to be the accurate source of the facts and/or of what really happened.  Yet I’m seeing an increase in the frequency of various individuals and international comment about the gross inaccuracies by (certain) broadsheets. It is pretty reflective of the ethics of the editorial team involved; call it being lazy, ignorant/incompetent or biased, all of it is not positive.

Also, considering how the media can and will impact the society at large and how the media is also reflective of the values in the society, the lax ethics and standards of reporting is pretty terrifying. Is that the society we are becoming?

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