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[Editorial] The Ulterior Motive behind "Beat the Press" Movement Uncovered

[Editorial] The Ulterior Motive behind "Beat the Press" Movement Uncovered

Posted December. 01, 2004 23:01,   


The fact that the Uri Party revised the press act under the pretext of "press reform" is a clear indication that this press act is, in fact, nothing more than a malevolent law targeting critiquing newspapers. Originally, the act was designed to handicap newspaper companies when a group of three comprises 60 percent of the market share or when a single company comprises more than 30 percent of the market by designating involved companies as "market dominating businesses." The clause containing those restrictions brought on criticism about its elasticity since the restriction is even lower than that of the Fair Trade Act that stipulates the limit at 50 percent for individual companies or 75 percent for the three companies combined. Now it is being revised yet again when the three outspoken papers, including Dong-A, Chosun, and Joonang, did not fall under the new criteria of being "market dominating."

This is a typical case of "legislation with motive" that cuts up legal clauses to fit their purpose against certain targeted objects. The fact that the new revision leaves all other economic journals and local papers out of the calculation, limiting the scope to 10 general daily newspapers published within Seoul, clearly shows that it is the three major newspaper companies whom the governing party is after.

The "In" party says that the scope was limited to general dailies since some newspaper companies monopolize the media more than often, and they are the only ones that deal with national agendas. Such claims, however, is groundless assertion saying that, among all other papers, only the general dailies have the function of valid opinion formation. If the monopoly and oligopoly over the public opinion is the issue, broadcasting and the Internet should be included in the opinion market when trying to calculate the media market share since broadcasting has the biggest impact on public opinions.

The governing party is only mentioning the problem of opinion monopoly in efforts to disguise its real motive. The real motive cannot be anything other than to clamp down on outspoken newspaper companies. When such a malevolent law is put into effect, it will lead our society down a path to deterioration starting with weakening the power to monitor authorities that will limit the freedom of press, leading to retrogression of democracy.

The legislation proposals put forth by the "In" party are tools of tyranny disguised as reform measures in that their assertions lack justification and rationality. Even ethics is lost in the process of the revision. When the governing party wishes to talk about the press act, it should leave out the word "reform." Such so-called "reform" on press with such a clear ulterior motive of the authorities cannot be allowed nor will it ever be successful.