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Private Papers Become More Confidential, Double in Price

Private Papers Become More Confidential, Double in Price

Posted May. 18, 2005 23:21,   


Private papers have greatly decreased since the police, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Information and Communications launched a strong crackdown in mid-March and declared on May 10 that public officers who release or provide information related to their jobs to private papers will face the severest punishment the law stipulates, including dismissal.

However, in unlisted bond markets where conglomerates and securities firms participate, secret information is still circulated. This is because information on their competitors is regularly reported to their CEOs based on the private papers. Their management and clients need fresh information, and the private papers cannot just disappear.

A Mr. A who works in the public relations department of a conglomerate still subscribes to private papers even after the police crackdown. He says that the price for private papers has almost doubled from 300,000 - 500,000 per month, but that he still can’t bring himself to cancel his subscription.

He says that private papers are shared only among a few reliable persons, and that they are worth their cost because their information is highly reliable and that more than half of their predictions turn out to be true.

The persons in charge of information gathering at conglomerates get together more often at unofficial meetings, including so-called “Wednesday meetings.” The information they are provided often takes the form of postscripts media people write.

A company has newly established an information team to strengthen its information-gathering function. The routine of Mr. B who works in the department is similar to that of a reporter. He assembles many pieces of information from the media and competitors, and reports to the company by rating the grade of each piece.

He said that private papers were harshly regulated in 1999 and 2003, but that things came back as they used to. He added that private papers may be out of public circulation for a short period of time but that they will not disappear due to high demand for them.

A policeman expressed the pessimistic view that despite the crackdown, it is impossible in reality to search for all incidents for punishment. And a person from a securities firm said that the current action on private papers will bring about only short-time effects.

Se-Jin Jung mint4a@donga.com