Friday, June 11, 2021
Hee-Young Shin (Wright State University), Public Discourses on Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions to COVID-19 and Vaccination Programs in Korea, SSRN:
The Korean government’s non-pharmaceutical interventions to suppress the COVID-19 epidemic have achieved a remarkable performance in lowering the number of infected patients and the overall mortality rate. Nonetheless, the public health authority’s various mitigation efforts have faced several challenges and criticisms. These include 1) concerns for privacy and surveillance associated with the ICT-based contact tracing, 2) Christian fundamentalists’ Sinophobia conspiracies and non-civic behaviors, 3) biased and distorted news reporting emanating from ultraconservative mass media organizations, and 4) the selective and partial propagation of fake news through Korean news portals and various social network service outlets. This paper examines how these challenges have interplayed with the health authority’s mitigation efforts and discusses how to address these problems from a legal point of view. The paper argues that a comprehensive legal reform including the introduction of effective punitive damages is a necessary minimum to resolve some of these challenges.