Fake news, controversial remarks lead to muddy election

Apr 10, 2020, 09:14 am

print page small font big font

facebook share

tweet share

An armed man was held down by the police after making an attempt to attack UFP candidate Oh Se-hoon on April 9, 2020./ Source: Candidate Oh Se-hoon’s camp

By AsiaToday reporters Lee Wook-jae

As early voting for next week’s general election has started nationwide Friday, fake news and controversial remarks as well as assaults are becoming rampant. 

On the eve of early voting, election campaign heated up in the political world with fake news relating to the government as well as some candidates’ reckless remarks and an attempted assault on a candidate.

The Ministry of Unification on Thursday requested the Korea Communications Standards Commission (KOCSC) to review former journalist Moon Gap-sik’s YouTube broadcasts. Recently, Moon revealed a set of photos on his YouTube channel and claimed that the government has been manufacturing 1 million pieces of masks a day since April 3 to send them to North Korea and that the government has been saving them to support the North. 

Since the government’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak has been one of the hottest topics in the election, it could have greatly affected voters’ perception of the government. However, the ministry simply refuted the claim, saying, “In relation to COVID-19, the government has not considered providing masks to North Korea and none of private organizations in the country have applied for carrying out masks to support the North.”

Recently, an online message urging opposition bloc supporters to avoid casting all the votes for the Future Korea Party (FKP) in proportional representation (PR) vote was widely spread. The message claimed that it is advantageous to cast ballots to minority parties such as Christian Liberty Unification Party in order to secure seats for the opposition bloc because votes would be invalid if the FKP receives more than 22 percent in the vote due to the newly introduced PR system. 

However, the new PR system allocates proportional seats based on a party’s approval rate, and there is no upper limit of 22 percent. Therefore, the message claiming that votes would be invalid is fake news that confuses voters.

There were attempts to assault candidates as well. An armed man in his 50s attempted to attack the main opposition United Future Party’s (UFP) Oh Se-hoon, competing for Seoul’s Gwangjin-B constituency. Fortunately, the police held him down before approaching to the candidate’s vehicle. The police are investigating whether the man had any intention of interfering with the candidate’s election campaign.  

On Thursday, another man in his 50s in Daegu jumped into the Justice Party candidate Cho Myung-rae’s campaign car, where he pushed the candidate and attacked one of election campaigners. The man cursed at the candidate, saying “This place is for Park Geun-hye, not you.” The police held him on charges of violating the public election law. 

Moreover, a series of reckless remarks by politicians are sparking controversies. Democratic Party (DP) Chair Lee Hae-chan recently said that Busan is “shabby.” Former UFP candidate Kim Dae-ho said on Monday: “Those in their mid-30s and 40s have no logic. They are ignorant and delusional.” He also said in a candidates’ debate on Tuesday, “When you get older, you become disabled.” During a TV debate Wednesday, former UFP candidate Cha Myeong-jin cited a news report that a bereaved family member of a victim of the sinking of the Sewol ferry and a supporter committed indecent acts in their protest tent in Seoul in May 2018. 

“It’s obviously better to be policy-oriented, but let’s not hope for it this year,” said Myongji University Professor Lee Jong-hoon. “Competition between the rival parties has been always fierce. However, the COVID-19 outbreak has affected the way candidates carry out campaign, and many are overreaching to raise approval rating,” Lee said. 

#fake news #April 15 #general election 
Copyright by Asiatoday