I received this letter from Benjamin Wagner, who addressed it to the Korea Press Ethics Commission, Korea Press Arbitration Commission, National Human Rights Commission of Korea, Yonhap News Agency, Chosun Ilbo News, JoongAng Ilbo News, DongA News, Segye News, Munhwa News, and No Cut News.
Dear News Agencies and Concerned Parties,
This e-mail is regarding the false news story your news agencies have recently published about a Chinese woman intentionally spreading AIDS. In fact Chinese authorities have confirmed that the story was a hoax and that the woman in question does not have AIDS. If your news agencies had adequately researched this issue you would have discovered the story was unsubstantiated and should not be printed. (See detailed information below).
We demand that you immediately publish corrections in your newspapers and updates for your Internet-based news articles explaining that your report was in error. You should also apologize for your irresponsible reporting and for increasing the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS.
Irresponsible journalism such as yours is directly contributing to increased stigma associated with HIV/AIDS in Korea. By increasing HIV/AIDS stigma in Korea you are directly harming the public health. Korean HIV/AIDS NGOs have repeatedly pointed out that stigma is one of the "main obstacles" to fighting the spread of AIDS in Korea. (AIDS Prevention Association of Korea). Every time you run a newspaper article suggesting that people with HIV/AIDS are a dangerous threat you are increasing this stigma. You should be aware that because of the intense stigma surrounding the disease in Korea, 30% of AIDS deaths were suicides. (Korea Center for Disease Control) By publishing irresponsible articles such as this you are increasing the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS in Korea.
The fight against AIDS in Korea can be broken down into four separate stages: 1) prevention, 2) identification of HIV status, 3) treatment, care and support, 4) harm reduction. Irresponsible news articles such as yours directly work against each of these four essential aspects of the fight against AIDS in Korea.
News agencies have a responsibility to the people residing in the Republic of Korea, including those who have HIV/AIDS. Korea must not be a nation where news agencies rush to print with unsubstantiated gossip that directly harms the public health.
Korean News Articles that require correction (from the news agencies listed above): 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Chinese News Reports explaining the story is a rumor: 1 2 3 4 5 6
This has been translated into Korean and can be found in the first comment.
It seems the main culprit here is Yonhap, and that its article has been reprinted at the other sites. At the moment, doing searches for this story turns up few articles, so some may have been removed.