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Establishment of News Agency

Posted June. 29, 2001 20:39,   


The establishment of a new news agency will be legally permitted in the news communication sector which has been currently monopolized by the Associated Press (AP).

The Supreme Court (Chief Judge Cho Moo-Je) confirmed the original verdict by which the plaintiff won, in the lawsuit which was filed by the Newsis (president Choi Hae-Wun) who has professionally supplied the foreign news in the economic and scientific fields. The Newsis complained in the lawsuit that it was unfair that the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCT) had refused the Newsis to register a periodical publication, and the Supreme Court commanded the MCT to revoke the measure to reject the registration of the news agency by the Newsis.

The verdict of the Supreme Court suspended the strict interpretation of the government about the standard for the foundation of the news agency.

The court told that ``the special news agency which deals only with the specialized or foreign information falls under the news agency on the periodical registration law. It is unjust to limit the establishment of the news agency which deals with the specialized news such as the scientific information and the foreign news``.

And the court said that ``the `wireless communication facility`, which the periodical registration law requires for the establishment of the news agency, include not only `the case that the establishment of the wireless communication station is permitted`, but also `the case that the establishment of the wireless communication station is regarded as already given permission`. Since the Newsis made a contract of wireless service with the communication company (the Russian communication co. etc) which possessed the communication facility needed to supply the news, the Newsis can be regarded as being permitted to establish the wireless communication station. Therefore, the government cannot refuse the application for the registration of the new news agency``.

Choi Hae-Wun, the president of the Newsis, established with 7 former-reporters the `News Service Korea` which was the forerunner of the Newsis in 1995. As the MCT rebuffed the application for the establishment of the news agency in November 1997, he filed a lawsuit against the MCT`s decision.

Choi told that ``the Supreme Court`s judgment will collapse the monopolistic system which has continued for 21 years since the merger and abolition of the press sector in 1980. Although the concrete plan is not set up yet, we will supply the patronized and competitive news``.

The Newsis signed the contract for the news supply with the UK`s Reuters in May, added Choi.

Lee Soo-Hyung sooh@donga.com