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FTC Intervenes Newspaper Market

Posted February. 21, 2003 22:32,   


The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) plans to revise the Newspaper Notification in order directly intervene, investigate and persecute the newspaper companies.

The experts are highly concern about invasion of freedom of speech and government`s manipulative and unilateral reorganization among the newspaper market by this measure.

On 21st February, the government announced a revision of Newspaper Notification in order to investigate and prosecute unfair trade practice among the newspaper market. The revision will be implemented by mid of March after reviews by the Regulatory Reform Committee (RRC) within this month.

The FTC explains its `disciplinary restriction` is due to widespread expensive gifts practices such as bicycles and almost non-effectiveness of Newspaper Association`s self-regulations. However major newspapers such as Donga Daily and others have already promised compliances to Fair Trade Agreement and halt in the gift practice and argue that FTC`s explanation lacks persuasiveness.

Especially when the FTC announced `mutual cooperation` with media organizations consist only of minor newspapers, the FTC indirectly showed that this measure is aimed at three specific newspapers such as Donga, Chosun and Joongang Daily.

Today the FTC also announced the investigation result of the `bicycle gift` practice by the newspapers` branch offices. The investigation began with the petitions by some regional bicycle stores.

The FTC announced that the bicycle stores were unable to objectively prove the loss caused by the branch offices and it was difficult to perceive the case as obstruction of other businesses activities. They explained that the investigation result would be notified to the Newspaper Association for handling.

The reported bicycle gift practice are △JoongAng Daily - 380 bicycles △The Chosun Ilbo - 183 bicycles △The Dong-a Ilbo - 121 bicycles △Hankook Daily - 49 bicycles △The Hankyoreh - 10 bicycles △Segye Daily - 6 bicycles △Hankook & Hankyoreh (Joint) - 37 bicycles △Gyunghyang Daily & Hankyoreh (Joint) - 11bicycles △ Gyunghyang Daily & Segye Daily (Joint) - 1 bicycle △Hankyoreh & Segye (Joint) - 1 bicycle. The bicycle gift practice began by nation-wide distribution of thousands of bicycles by branch offices of Segye Daily and Hankyoreh Daily newspapers. Its practices were spread to branch offices of other newspapers.

Kwang-Am Cheon Eun-Woo Lee iam@donga.com libra@donga.com