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Court Rejects Newspaper Law Clauses

Posted June. 30, 2006 03:25,   


A decision has been made on market domination of newspapers and the mediation of the media on the provisional disposition of correction articles. It has also been ruled that prohibiting one newspaper corporation from owning another goes against the constitution.

This move is expected to place the blame on the ruling party for going to extremes to enact the policies despite repeated warnings and controversy.

However, the clause that forces newspaper networks to release number of copies, number of newspaper sales, subscription, ad income, and other operations information was still held justifiable.

The judge stated on June 29 that certain clauses mentioned in Dong-A Ilbo and Chosun Ilbo’s suit were determined on “the freedom that a newspaper guarantees, and the neutral stance of the media.”

The court ruled unconstitutional Article 17 of the newspaper law, which designates one newspaper company with a market share of over 30 percent of national circulation, and less than three newspapers with market share of over 60 percent as market-dominant firms since the article unreasonably discriminated against newspaper networks.”

The Court also emphasized, “The market position of a newspaper is determined by the citizens, so it cannot be considered unfair.”

Furthermore, the law that excludes dominant newspaper companies from being granted funds was also deemed a breach of the constitution.

Some clauses lost their efficacy immediately after the ruling made yesterday.

The Court has remained undecided on the multiple ownership of daily newspaper companies, which will be further revised at the National Assembly.

Tae-Hoon Lee jefflee@donga.com needjung@donga.com