Pyeong Hwa Gyeong: Episode 233
Pyeong Hwa Gyeong: A Selection of True Parents’ Speeches
Book 5: Absolute Values and New World Order
Speech 25: Media in the Twenty-first Century: Focus, Roles and Responsibilities, pg 844-847
Media in the Twenty-first Century: Focus, Roles and Responsibilities
August 22, 1995 Shilla Hotel, Seoul, Korea
Thirteenth World Media Conference
Honorable chairman, Dr. Paul Johnson, distinguished speakers, conference participants, ladies and gentlemen:
I would like to extend my deep appreciation and welcome to all of you who have come from many different countries to attend the thirteenth World Media Conference, part of the World Culture and Sports Festival, here in Seoul, Korea.
I think this conference is both meaningful and timely, as it has as its main theme, “The Responsibility and Role of the Media.” In only five years, the world will enter the new age of the twenty-first century. As we usher in the third millennium, we need to understand it as a historic turning point.
An era emphasizing the role and responsibility of the media
Throughout history, people have been striving to make their lives more comfortable through improving material conditions and seeking to create the best social system. However, the more people enjoy freedom and comfort, the more aware they become that these external developments are not sufficient. We need a new spiritual awakening. This is the time for humanity to turn its attention to discovering the fundamental value of human life and pursuing a new and deeper dimension of living.
Our era has been one in which the media’s role and responsibility have become highly significant in the following respects: First, as democracy has expanded throughout the world, freedom of the press has continuously grown as well. In the modem political system, which elects its leadership through the democratic process, the media’s role and influence are great, since organs of the media relate directly to the public at large.
Second, communications technologies that convey information throughout the world have become highly developed. Electronic and print media, especially, have developed technologies that allow far-reaching communication instantaneously. For example, communications satellites and the Internet, which connect all the countries in a global village, permit any individual’s idea, whether right or wrong, to be conveyed to everyone in the world. This free, high-tech environment creates countless channels for today’s media to influence public opinion.
Consider the impact on the political arena. The media at times can create an environment of public opinion in which a government can either be highly respected or be put in such a difficult position that it can collapse. Also, media can lead a society to maintain a high level of moral standards or mislead it into moral confusion and chaos.
Furthermore, consider the viewpoint that history is not an objective record but is a selective record of historical facts. In this light, the media, more than any other human endeavor as we enter into this historical transition period, has a significant responsibility to record the day-to-day facts of history objectively, as they occur. From this viewpoint, the media absolutely cannot separate its role and responsibility from its historical context. The media needs to conduct its various functions, ranging from factual reporting to review and criticism, based upon the proper understanding of the direction of history and our historical responsibility.
As a religious leader, I believe there is a definite direction behind human history. God created humankind and He has been seeking throughout history to accomplish His providential Will and purpose. Therefore, you, as journalists who are recording the facts of history, need to clearly understand God’s providential Will and align with this understanding as you record history.
Honorable journalists, in this half-century following the end of World War II, the media’s role and responsibility have come to the forefront. During this time, the media’s first task was to expose the false doctrine and strategy of communism and awaken the free world to this threat. During this time period, however, most media practitioners were confused by a very liberal viewpoint. The fact that Washington, D.C., the capital of the leading nation of the free world, had only the liberal viewpoint represented, led me, thirteen years ago, to make the very serious and important determination to create The Washington Times.
Since that time, I invested my entire heart, spirit and effort to overcome communism. As a leader of conservative journalism, I have borne enormous financial burden and prevailed against false accusations and persecution. I have even been called a false religious leader and suffered imprisonment in America over trumped-up tax charges. But the force of worldly concerns cannot overcome God’s Will. I’d like to praise The Washington Times highly for its decisive contribution to the collapse of communism and the protection of global freedom. I believe The Washington Times will be honored throughout history for this contribution.
The media should take the lead in uniting the world
In the past half-century, the media had another mission: to restore fundamental values and construct a moral society. In 1991, when the Cold War ended and the tension subsided between East and West, we all expected a period of peace. But in fact, since the Cold War ended, social conflict and instability have increased. In America, for example, sexual immorality in the form of free sex and homosexuality is threatening to destroy the family.
An increasing divorce rate is putting more and more young people on the street. These children tend to get into drugs and criminality. For too many it is a path to suicide. In fact, the teen suicide rate has doubled over the past thirty years. Sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS have their origins in a corrupt social life. Some states in America and countries in Europe have legalized homosexual marriages. We take seriously warnings from ecologists and environmentalists about the potential extinction of certain plants and animals, but the phenomenon of the destruction of the human species is not taken seriously. We have given little thought to ways of preventing the extinction of our society.
We are well aware that these problems are not limited to one area of the world. Further, this moral destruction is a crisis not only for us humans but also for God. Love, which is the most precious element of human life, is losing its foundation in the family. And as the family is destroyed, the very foundation upon which God’s love stands is also collapsing.
For this reason I emphasized the necessity of True Family Values at the celebration of the tenth anniversary of The Washington Times, and strongly urged the paper to focus on restoring the fundamental value of the human being. This advice was not intended only for The Washington Times; this was God’s revelation given to all the world’s journalists and leaders. The Washington Times is standing on the frontline to save America and the world by acclaiming and supporting, more than anything else, the need for a restoration of true families and a reconstruction of moral life.
This is a new spiritual revolution, of which The Washington Times has become the standard-bearer in America. People everywhere in the world consider the role of family values a very important and serious issue. It is not just a matter of changing some social statistics; it impacts the areas of education, religion, culture, politics and economics.
When I established the World Media Association in 1978, my purpose was to support the effort to solve these fundamental problems by providing a forum for the discussion of media ethics and responsibility. So I would also like to emphasize that the media must be in the vanguard leading the world into unity.