Go to contents

Watchdog: Net Portals Need Regulation

Posted June. 30, 2006 03:25,   


The Free Press Association that monitors portal sites held a meeting under the theme: “A forum to prevent power abuse of portal sites” at Yonsei University. It said, “Portal sites affect public opinion by changing headlines and playing up specific articles. Therefore, they should be kept in check through the amendment of the newspaper law.”

Yang Young-tae, head of the association, said, “Next year, when the presidential election is scheduled to be held, it will be impossible to prevent portal sites from influencing the public opinion. This year is the last chance we have to use the law to ensure specific opinions are not viewed as a general view.”

Shin Hye-sik, head of the Independent Daily, said, “In the run-up to the local election of May 31, portal sites gave prominent coverage to articles titled, “Mentally ill attacker” and “Ruling party leaders were also the target of his attack,” when major media outlets focused on the gravity of the attack on Park Geun-hye.

He stressed that portal sites just distribute reports by media companies, but he also added that portal sites edit some news reports arbitrarily to represent the interest of some specific groups.

Byun Hee-jae, head of RunAsia.Net, said in his presentation, “Newspaper law stipulates that over 50 percent of newspapers should be filled with news articles. However, portal sites fill more than 80 percent of their front page with advertisements and profit-seeking items. They are engaged in unfair transactions.”

He said, “Regulating portal sites that exert influence in the media through the newspaper law aims not at “regulation,” but at holding them to account for their social influence.”

Jae-Young Kim jaykim@donga.com