South Korean President Moon Jae-in formally expressed support Wednesday for a major press freedom initiative by Reporters Without Borders, meeting with its visiting leader.
Moon greeted Christophe Deloire, secretary general of the Paris-based international non-governmental organization, also known as Reporters Sans Frontieres, at Cheong Wa Dae.
Joining their half-hour meeting were Cedric Alviani, director of the RSF's East Asia bureau in Taipei, and Jung Kyu-sung, head of the Journalists' Association of Korea.
It was the first time that a South Korean president has held an official meeting with an RSF delegation.
The event came at the request of RSF, as the group seeks to broaden support for the International Declaration of Information and Democracy it issued last year.
Moon told RSF representatives that he agrees on the purpose of the initiative and supports it, Cheong Wa Dae said in a press release. He added South Korea will participate in the "partnership for information and democracy" to implement the declaration.
"When truth-based thoughts and information are freely moved, freedom of speech can be truly realized and fair press, based on facts, will increase trust among members of a society," Moon was quoted as saying.
The RSF chief thanked Moon for throwing his weight behind the project and expected South Korea to solidify its stature as a role model in Asia in terms of democracy and press freedom Alviani noted South Korea's rise in the ranking of the RSF's World Press Freedom Index since the launch of the liberal Moon administration in 2017. South Korea climbed to 43rd in 2018 from 63rd in 2017. It ranked 41st this year.
RSF said earlier in a statement, "The election of Moon Jae-in, a human rights activist and former political prisoner, as president has been a breath of fresh air after a bad decade in which South Korea fell more than 30 places in RSF's World Press Freedom Index." (Yonhap)