Truth Is My Sword Volume I - Collected Speeches in the Public Arena

by Bo Hi Pak

Freedom and Responsibility

September 20, 1987

In this following speech, Dr. Pak explains the innovative, self-governing aspect of the World Media Association and the World Media Conferences, reflecting Reverent Moon's belief in a responsible, free, and strong media as the best channel for God's truth. The following remarks were delivered by Dr. Pak at the opening banquet of the Ninth World Media Conference in Seoul, Korea, on September 20, 1987.

Reverend Moon, President Morales Bermudez, President Sucre, congressmen, honored guests, distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to Korea, the Land of the Morning Calm, and welcome to the World Media Conference. This is the ninth year we have convened. Some of you have been working with the conference for several years, others from the very beginning. You have advised, counseled, and strengthened the content of the sessions, and I am very pleased with what the World Media Association has accomplished in less than a decade. Much of the credit must go to the board chairmen and to you, our participants.

Beginning in 1978, we held our first four conferences in New York City. The Fifth World Media Conference took place here in Korea. After that, we convened in Cartagena, Colombia, and the following year in Tokyo, Japan. Last year's conference was held in Washington, D.C., and now we are back again in Seoul, having virtually circled the earth with a combined media representation of more than 100 countries, including the 37 that sent representatives to this year's conference.

Journalist Tours

Beyond the conference itself, one of the most important activities of the World Media Association centers around conducting fact-finding tours for media professionals. Twice we brought media representatives to Asia, including the People's Republic of China, Cambodia, and the Philippines. Twice we took journalists to the nations of southern Africa. One tour went to Central America, where we interviewed heads of state, as well as leaders of the resistance movements, and another tour took us to Europe to examine the 1983 peace movement and demonstrations. This year will mark the fourth time we have toured the Soviet Union. Whenever possible I have accompanied these tours. Truly, seeing is believing. These factfinding tours allow for first-hand inspection as an important supplement to the information provided by news services.

In addition to the annual conferences and fact-finding tours, the WMA has developed valuable publications. It is important that what is said at these conferences be readily available to those concerned with communications issues. Our publishing division allows WMA members and participants to have their findings published and distributed to major world media, as well as to top university communications libraries. At our book display table you will notice that the list of WMA publishing credits grows with each passing year. This year our highly successful fact-finding tour of South Africa, Namibia, and Angola, led by Mr. William Rusher, the publisher of National Review, resulted in a just-released book, Crossing the Rubicon, which contains transcripts of top-level meetings and discussions, along with a selection of papers written by the tour participants. Together these publications constitute a substantial and lasting contribution to the free and open marketplace of ideas.

The founding of this conference nine years ago by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon was a bold, innovative approach toward stimulating a self-government of the media profession. Reverend Moon seeks to provide a unique forum for journalistic review. In effect, our conference allows members of the media and media-related professions to design their own conference, according to what they consider to be the most pressing issues of our time.

Some session topics are selected by the board chairmen, while others originate with a past participant calling our office and suggesting a topic and possible speakers for a panel. Often our response is, "That's a great idea. Now, would you kindly write up the proposal for the session? Call the people you want, and get them to agree to speak. And one thing more, why don't you serve as chairman of the session?" It seems as though a few of the session chairmen this year had this experience.

It was Reverend Moon's feeling from the very beginning that the ones most concerned about protecting press freedom and encouraging press responsibilities are the ones most directly involved. He also believes that you are the best able to assess the quality of news coverage and encourage more in-depth and even-handed reporting of issues and events. Reverend Moon's thinking has always been that if you bring together people of high integrity and good will, they will generate solutions that are workable and fair.

Media Ethics Award

Finally, in 1985, the World Media Association instituted the Media Ethics Award to recognize the highest standards of courage and devotion to such principles in the field of journalism. We are very pleased this year to give the award to two of the most deserving members of our profession, Mr. Reed Irvine and Mr. Guillermo Cano.

Ladies and gentlemen, for nine years now Reverend Moon has given his full support to this endeavor, for which we are all deeply grateful. This year we have the rare good fortune of having the founder present. On only two other occasions in the last nine years has Reverend Moon addressed the conference. It was not easy for him to come, but we worked very hard to have him attend, knowing that so many of you had requested an opportunity to meet him and hear him speak.

Without taking any more time, let me introduce a highly respected diplomat and journalist who is presently serving as a member of the World Media Association's board of directors and have him introduce the founder. Ambassador Francis Dale currently acts as president of the prestigious Music Center in Los Angeles, California. He has been a newspaper publisher with both the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Los Angeles Examiner. In addition, he served as a United States ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva and a special assistant to the State Department. He is director of the Methodist Publishing House and a trustee of the American University in Washington, D.C.

Thank you very much.

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