Yoon says spread of disinformation could threaten liberal democracy

September 21, 2023

President Yoon Suk Yeol called Thursday for establishing a universal digital order, saying the spread of disinformation through malicious misuse of digital technologies could threaten liberal democracy and jeopardize the future.

Yoon made the remark during a speech at New York University as part of a five-day visit to the city to attend the U.N. General Assembly. Exactly a year earlier, Yoon had unveiled the New York Initiative at the university, calling for a new digital order in the era of deepening digitalization.

“AI and digital technologies should not pose threats to the safety of individuals and society at large,” he said, noting the need to build and operate an appropriate regulatory system.

“If we fail to counter the spread of disinformation fueled by the malicious misuse of AI and digital technologies, it could threaten liberal democracy, put market economies based on liberal democracy at risk and jeopardize our future and the lives of future generations,” he said.

Yoon said this principle will be included in a “Digital Bill of Rights” soon to be unveiled by South Korea, which he said will serve as the international community’s compass to navigate the era of deepening digitalization.

The bill of rights will contain five guiding principles to build a “brighter digital future,” including ensuring that AI and other digital technologies are not used to restrict, but rather to expand, the freedom of humanity.

“One person’s self-expression through digital means should be exercised responsibly in ways that respect the rights of others,” he said.

The other principles will be about evenly distributing the benefits of digital technology, continuing the pursuit of digital innovation that drives sustainable prosperity for humanity, and the international community working together in solidarity to make sure AI and digital technologies contribute to promoting global peace and shared prosperity.