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Korea’s Gender Ministry to monitor news reports on #MeToo

The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family said Wednesday it will begin monitoring news reports on the #MeToo movement to prevent further damage to victims who speak up.

The ministry discussed how #MeToo stories are reported at a conference with media experts from the Korean Women’s Association for Communication Studies at Seoul’s Central Government Complex on Wednesday.

“Inappropriate reporting leads to secondary damage for victims, obstructing the promotion of gender equality,” said Gender Equality Minister Jung Hyun-baek.

(Wikimedia Commons)
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Ministry listed several examples of undue reporting. The cases included excessively detailing the victim’s personal information, speaking on behalf or from the perspective of the assailant, using headlines that belittle the notion of sexual violence, or implying that gender discrimination such as the use of the “Mike Pence rule” -- referring to the US vice president’s avoidance of being alone with any woman who isn’t his wife -- have arisen due to the #MeToo movement.

The Ministry said it will monitor local news reports on sexual violence starting April. If necessary, the Ministry will ask relevant state agencies to review what it views as “problematic” reports.

The Ministry also plans to distribute to media firms a set of amended guidelines for reporting about sexual violence, first established in 2014 jointly by the Journalists Association of Korea and the Women’s Human Rights Institute of Korea.

Minister Jung said the revised guidelines reflect the recommendations of gender and media experts.