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Video Conferencing: Is It Practical?

Posted March. 06, 2005 22:22,   


Commemorating the Day of Information and Communication, April 22, 2003, President Roh Moo-hyun held a council meeting through an electronic video conference system.

This was the second time the participatory government conducted a video conference, using a system implemented in July of 2000 during the Kim Dae-jung administration after spending a budget of 8.3 billion won. The first conference took place on the 17th.

However, some ministers poured out complaints by the end of the meeting. One minister proposed, “I had a hard time with the video conference.” Another minister suggested, “Let’s have meetings in person at least once a month.”

In response to the complaints from the ministers, Minister Cho Young-dong of the Government Information Agency proposed, “Let’s conduct a meeting in person.” President Roh said, “It would be wise to conduct a video conference after having sufficient meetings in person in order for confirmation or inspection of the performance of agreed principles.”

This is the reason that some indicate the need for an extensive study of the video conference system beforehand, as it is considered to be used as a complementary measure after the construction of the administrative city in Yeongi-Gongju in South Chungcheong Province.

Above all, as the conference hours have increased with the beginning of the participatory government, which claims to be a “debating republic,” there is a necessity to conduct meetings where the participants are face-to-face with each other.

The head of the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs Woo Hee-chul said, “When we conduct a video conference, there are some negative aspects in which the sincerity of the meeting debilitates, making the debate process difficult. In the cases of some ministers, their voices are so soft that one could not hear their voices when we conducted a video conference.”

For this reason, the current administration only held a video conference once for a state council and a vice-minister conference, unlike the DJ administration that held vice-minister conferences via video 17 times and state councils nine times. The video conference system is installed in up to three places which are the Central Government Complex in Seoul, Gwacheon Government Complex and Dae-jun Government Complex, but as yet, there are no such system installed in Cheong Wa Dae.

Lawmaker Chun Jae-hee of the Grand National Party (GNP) pointed out that “since the implementation of the video conference system in July 2000 to February 2005, the fact that a video conference only occurred 10 times out of 260 state councils held, and 18 times out of 238 vice-minister conferences held, clearly indicates the inefficiency of the video conference system.”

Young-Hae Choi yhchoi65@donga.com orionha@donga.com