Spark

Mapping MERS

How citizens distributed information online after the MERS outbreak in South Korea.
Commuters wearing face masks ride an escalator in a subway in central Seoul, South Korea on June 5, 2015. (ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
Listen10:09

When a Middle East Respiratory Syndrome outbreak first hit South Korea recently, the government initially would not release the names of hospitals and clinics MERS patients had visited. The aim was to prevent widespread panic, but the lack of information had the opposite effect.

That's why tech CEO Park Soon-young decided to take matters into his own hands by creating a "MERS Map" aimed to distribute the information the government was not.

Beyond the specifics of MERS, the story has a lot to show us about what happens when a country as wired as Sout Korea meets an information drought. Journalist Tori Allen was in Seoul, and she brings us this story.

Tori spoke with  Damien Spry of Hanyang University.

Special thanks to interpreter Lee Ju-young. 

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