More political figures in S. Korea turn to YouTube to promote themselves

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Published on 21 Jan 2019, 0:11
유튜브에 빠진 정치인들... 빛과 그림자

A Twitter account and a Facebook page are essential platforms for politicians to spread their message to the public these days.
However,... looking to expand their horizons,... a growing number of political figures in South Korea are also using YouTube to promote themselves.
With some enjoying huge success,... more are jumping on the bandwagon.
And while it's a way to get publicity,... there are downsides as well as our Kim Min-ji explains.
YouTube has become a "must" for political figures in South Korea -- thanks to the video platform's potential to reach a huge audience and as a means to get their ideas out unfiltered.

Topping the list with the most subscribers is Rhyu Si-min, a former liberal politician.
Since he started uploading videos in early January, the YouTube channel he appears on has seen an over three-fold increase in subscribers... and now has over 630-thousand.
His videos are aimed at helping viewers get background information on the government's policies.

A lot of policies haven't been properly addressed and instead they've been distorted.

Among conservatives,... the rising star YouTube star is Hong Joon-pyo, former chief of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party.
Although he lags behind Rhyu in terms of subscribers -- with around 240-thousand -- he has seen that figure steadily climb -- garnering attention for his stinging criticisms of the current government.

The administration is going down. And it's going down fast.

But those two aren't the only Korean politicians with a YouTube presence.
From individual lawmakers to political parties as a whole -- all have been stepping up their online activity and changing with the times.

"Not all politicians are widely known, so YouTube gives them a platform to reach an untold number of people. Although not all of them will become popular, you're seen as an outsider if you don't have your own channel. A politician's lifespan in a sense depends on how much voters know about them, so YouTube is a great tool."

While it's a way to get publicity,... some say it's a double-edged sword.
There's the issue of "fake news," with politicians making remarks based on unidentified sources or that are altogether false -- as there's no gatekeeping on YouTube.
And on the viewers' part,... they will likely watch only content produced by politicians they like -- stoking concerns of ideological bias.

"YouTube is different from traditional media, meaning it's not regulated by existing laws. Therefore, even if the content is based on fake news, it won't be subject to criminal punishment. Sensitive information might help drive its popularity now,... but it could sow distrust down the line, and politics could end up tainting YouTube."

What's for sure is that the YouTube craze is here to stay especially ahead of the 2020 general elections.
But experts advise politicians to be responsible about what they say -- especially in regards to their opponents,... and for viewers to consume traditional media as well... so that can get balanced information.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.

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