South Korea renews information campaign

South Korean use of German reunification archives marks shift in public information policy.


News headlines featuring archives are just as likely to prompt a quick turn to the sports page as they are to sustain reader interest. Occasionally, when they intersect with geopolitics, whistleblowers and insurgents, they become grist for debate. The past month has seen a few choice morsels. In Moscow, the Russia-Ukraine crisis has spilled over into controversy about alleged anti-Russian propaganda lodged at the Library of Ukrainian Literature. In China, where the context for trust in things digital is an atmosphere coloured by cyber, suspicion and surveillance, the government has sponsored a new online repository of ancient Tibetan medical texts. In France, over 200,000 documents from the Vichy period have been made available for public consultation for the first time, renewing attention to the scale and scope of official collaboration with Nazi Germany. Elsewhere, a trove of ancient Iraqi Jewish historical materials, rescued from the Baghdad headquarters of Saddam Hussein’s secret police in 2003, is the subject of continued debate between the US, Iraq and Israel over cultural property rights. Perhaps the most curious and intriguing item has been in South Korea, where the government has launched an online collection of documents relating to German reunification in 1990. The project is set against a backdrop of intensified public South Korean attention to reunification of the Korean peninsula.

Sovereign Data looks at the political uses of the South Korea-Germany reunification archive and its role in furthering South Korean political ambitions.

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Citation: “South Korea renews information campaign on reunification,” Sovereign Data Vol 2. No. 1 (January 2016).