Reporter, SBS News
Host of SBS 8 O’Clock News factcheck segment
Winner of the Korea Fact Check Award, Korea Broadcasting Award, and Korea Broadcasting Journalist Award
Author of A Democracy of Emotions: Democracy in the Era of Hate
Since joining SBS, Lee Kyung-won has worked in the Society, Politics, and Investigative Journalism divisions, and is now the host of “Actually” (translated title), the fact-checking segment of SBS’ flagship news program He has earned numerous awards for his work as a journalist, including the 2020 Korea Fact Check Award, the 2013 and 2016 Korea Broadcasting Awards, and the 2015 and 2019 Korea Broadcasting Journalist Awards. He was also awarded the Nogeunri Peace Prize, the Amnesty International Korea Media Award, and the Minister of Gender Equity and Family Award for his coverage of human rights issues in Korean society. Earlier this year, he published a book titled A Democracy of Emotions: Democracy in the Era of Hate.It has been 35 years since the political democratization of South Korea, and five years since the peaceful protests of the so-called “candlelight revolution.” The country’s democracy has been shaped over an arduous journey. But Lee argues that the nation’s democracy is again facing a crisis - one driven primarily by hatred toward other people and extreme conflicts among members of society. Hate is dangerous not only because it is morally and ethically wrong, but because it drives us to work harder to deny the rights of others than to fully exercise our own, and compromises diversity and free speech, values that buttress democracy. This is why Lee uses the term “emotional power” and ascribes it as much significance as political and economic power.Lee seeks to convey how the problems of emotion are complicatedly interwoven into the fabric of our communities by sharing real-life stories from his experience as a journalist. As he puts it, “Journalists are at the frontlines of the manufacture, distribution, and consumption of emotion within a community.” It may very well be that the current “crisis” of emotion cannot be properly explained without the reflection of journalists and media outlets on their modus operandi.The journey of this year’s SDF, captured in the theme of fifty million people in search of a conductor, must begin by looking at the problem of the emotions shaping our communities, which on a broader level is also a problem of democracy. This will be our starting point for tuning our ears to hear voices and sounds we couldn’t or wouldn’t hear before.Lee’s ultimate question is for the would-be conductors of the fifty million - what emotions will they seek to represent?