모두보기닫기
Interview with Standing Commissioner Moon Kyung-ran
Date : 2008.02.25 00:00:00 Hits : 1988
Interview with Standing Commissioner Moon Kyung-ran
 
On February 4, 2008 Ms. Moon Kyung-ran, a former editorial writer and chief reporter on women’s issues at the JoongAng Daily, was appointed a standing commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK).  She majored in food and nutrition and minored in sociology at Seoul National University and later earned her master’s degree in women’s studies at Ewha Womans University.  Ms. Moon began her career as a journalist at the Kyeongin Ilbo, where she worked as a news reporter from 1984 to 1986.  She continued to work as a news reporter at the JoongAng Daily from 1990 to 2000.  In the following two years (2001 – 2002), she studied at the Korea Institute at Harvard University as a visiting researcher.  Ms. Moon served as an advisor in women’s policy for the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family (2003 - 2004); as a member of a council dealing with civil petitions and policy improvements at the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs (2005 - 2007); as vice chair of the Korea Woman Journalists Association (2006 - 2008); as  member of the Women’s Committee at the Seoul Metropolitan City Council (2007 – present); and as an editorial writer and chief reporter on women’s issues at the JoongAng Daily (2002 – 2008).
 

Following is an interview with the new standing commissioner, Moon Kyung-ran:

Q: Having worked as a news reporter for over 15 years, what are your thoughts and aspirations on becoming the Commission’s standing commissioner?
A: I worked at the JoongAng Daily for about 17 years. On my departure my colleagues had a lot to say about my new vocation and one particular comment that struck my mind was that I should pay attention to the human rights of the news reporters who work around the clock. That remark gave me the impression that the NHRCK is one of the first places people turn to when they face difficulties.
Whether having positive or negative viewpoints about the Commission, most of my colleagues acknowledged that this was a chance to participate in something truly meaningful and worthwhile and that they were envious of me being in a position to do really good work.  I have little doubt that these kinds of responses are a natural result of the NHRCK’s persistent efforts to discover and resolve human rights issues in this country and to advance those rights over the past seven years in the face of serious challenges. I am truly glad and honored to have been given the opportunity to participate in this great work.
 
Q: Was there any special, personal moment that led you to be interested in human rights issues?
A: If one’s thirties and forties are the prime of life, I spent my prime working as a journalist.  In my mid-twenties, I joined a media company immediately after graduation from college, but worked there for only three years. It was only in my early thirties that I began working as a full-fledged reporter, since I went to graduate school to complete women’s studies which had been the guiding force in my life. At the JoongAng Daily, I wrote many articles on gender issues. In the early 1990s, Korean society was not yet prepared to discuss such issues as sexual violence, domestic violence, and sexual harassment, but I endeavored to raise awareness and bring these issues forward to the public. I landed my support and voice in efforts to eliminate gender biased practices, institutions and prejudices in every corner of Korean society, including discrimination against women in employment and the patriarchal family system. In particular, from 2000 and onwards I made every efforts as a reporter to participate in movements to abolish the hojuje family system, which represented Korea’s patriarchal family system [and prescribed that only men could be the officially registered heads of families] and in that process, I gained a sense of accomplishment as a reporter since I was able to land several exclusives. Even after apparent gender discriminatory practices were removed through institutional changes, I continued to discover and report on more discriminatory practices in everyday lives.  In recent years, I focused on writing editorials and columns that highlighted human rights issues that could become obstacles for our society in moving towards a multicultural society and called for resolutions.
Reflecting on the twenty or so years I worked as a journalist, I did not just focus on covering women’s issues. However, the focus of my work and viewpoint always remained centered on human rights issues.  When I was in charge of reporting on the medical field, I went beyond the simple communication of medical information and paid more attention to the rights of patients.  When I worked as a correspondent for the Seoul Metropolitan Government, I sometimes would speak on behalf of citizens with complaints or petitions, especially middle-aged female citizens who were often unfamiliar with difficult administrative terms and were extremely intimidated by the high-handed manner of some civil servants.  I wrote articles criticizing the government when it became obvious to me that administrative convenience and bureaucracy were put before quality public service or when unfair institutional changes were made.
 
Q: What do you think are some of the human rights issues that confront the NHRCK?
A:  Human rights issues are becoming more varied in nature and increasingly prevalent in our daily lives.  If in case human rights issues and violations that emerge in unfamiliar areas as Korean society moves rapidly forward towards a multicultural society are not resolved properly, this will most likely be an obstacle for Korea’s progress in becoming an advanced nation.  Public awareness of human rights is improving by the day, but there could be setbacks if important institutional changes do not occur in line. Also the Commission should take account of the criticism that its standards of judgment are not neutral and the balance is tipped to one side. I think sharing the accomplishments of the Commission with the public and forming a consensus is as important a task as realizing systematic achievements.
At present, the most pressing task is to defending the independence of the commission. For the Commission to perform its mandate to the fullest, it should remain independent from the legislature, courts, and the government.
 
Q: Finally, please let us know your vision as the standing commissioner.
A: Thinking of the numerous tasks and demands ahead and my relative position as a new comer, I am overwhelmed by a sense of responsibility and trepidation. However, when I recall that those tasks will ultimately help ensure human dignity and rights for those marginalized from society and minorities, the responsibility becomes such a valuable challenge. At first, I will listen and learn with respect from the valuable efforts and achievements the NHRCK has made so far.  I hope that all the colleagues at the Commission will welcome me with an open heart and land support for me to achieve my best.
   Thank you.
 
 
* Brief Profile of Standing Commissioner Moon Kyung-ran
- Editorial Writer and Chief Reporter of Women's Issues, JoongAng Daily (Dec. 2002 - Jan. 2008)
- Expert Member of Women's Policy, Ministry of Gender, Equality & Family (Aug. 2003 - Aug. 2004)
- Committee Member, 21st Century Women's Forum (2004 - present)
- Vice-Chairman, Korea Women's Reporters Association (May. 2006 - present)
- Committee Member of Women's Committee, Seoul City Council (Aug.2007 – present)

확인

아니오