Posted October. 26, 2017 07:37,
Updated October. 26, 2017 08:10
Agora, a central public space in ancient Greek city-states, was originally a market. As many people gathered at the place, they naturally had social activities and engaged in active communications on various issues. Marketplaces evolved into spaces where public opinion was formed. This is why we remember agoras as the cradle of democracy.
While the people of Athens went to agoras when they wanted to know what other citizens thought about a certain issue, modern people turn to news media such as newspapers and television because the media offer the fastest and most effective way of reading the minds of the people. According to the result of a 2016 survey by a committee under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on media outlets’ influence on public opinion, the Dong-A Media Group ranked fourth among all media outlets including news portal sites and came on top among media organizations owning both daily newspaper and television channel. The committee was launched in 2010 to survey media influence on public opinion.
According to the latest study, media outlets affiliated with the Dong-A Ilbo had outstanding influences over the process of forming public opinion if their shares of all news access channels, including hardcopy newspapers, cable television and the Internet, are combined. Dong-A was followed by media groups led by Chosun Ilbo, Maeil Business Daily and JoongAng Ilbo, respectively. The Dong-A Media Group exceeded the others because the influence of its cable-TV unit “Channel A” was higher than those of the other cable TV channels run by the other media groups. The survey gave more weight to the influence of TV news programs. Meanwhile, the top-three ranking media outlets in overall influence were Naver, KBS and Daum. Naver, the top Internet portal in Korea, surpassed KBS in 2015 and further widened the gap in 2016.
Many people would wonder why such Internet portals as Naver and Daum are included in the media influence survey along with newspapers and TV stations. In fact, the two leading portals are not subject to the laws government newspapers or broadcasters. However, they wield extremely strong power in forming public opinion through their distribution of news content provided by newspapers and TV. The problem is that while they perform the roles of news media through editing and distributing news content and rake in astronomical amounts of advertisement revenues, they avoid due responsibility. As the latest survey has once again proved the two portals’ influences on public opinion, they should at least fulfill their social responsibility befitting their roles.