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GNP Calls for Newspaper Law Repeal

Posted July. 01, 2006 04:17,   


Ruling Uri party and opposition party members are dealing with the aftermath of the court decision on June 30 that some clauses of the newspaper laws and press arbitration laws are unconstitutional.

It is not highly expected that they will come to a conclusion in a short time since the two parties are in deadlock; the Uri party stands behind the partly amended existing laws whereas the Grand National Party (GNP) calls for abolishment by replacing the entire acts with new bills.

Chung Byung-guk, the information and public relations director of the GNP, emphasized in a telephone call with this paper, “A partial amendment does not guarantee an improvement in the freedom of press, and we cannot keep step with the rapidly transforming media-market with this passive reaction. In this regard, GNP calls for the permanent repeal and the replacement of the questionable laws with new ones.”

The GNP is set to abolish some clauses, particularly the clause that requires newspaper companies to submit managerial documents to the committee of development of the newspapers, which is likely to infringe on the freedom of speech and freedom of press. Moreover, it will prepare a set of replacement laws allowing cross-ownership to paper news providers in order to operate broadcasting companies and news agencies as well.

Lee Jae-oh, the floor leader of the GNP, says, “We will get everything ready by September so that the regular session of the assembly in September can handle the bills.”

Meanwhile, the ruling party stands with the current laws except for some of the unconstitutional articles of the laws.

It maintains that revisions meet the initial purpose of legislation for diversity in public opinion.

The Uri party is scheduled to hold a series of public hearings over the revision of the newspaper laws from a variety of experts including communications specialists to avoid unconstitutionality.

Woo Sang-ho, the spokesman for the Uri party, said in a statement, “We will start amending the act soon to uphold the decision of the court. However, if the GNP insists permanent repeal of the entire act including the constitutionally just articles, the debate will drag out our process.”

If unconstitutional, the law in question shall be revised or repealed by the National Assembly. This time, however, the court did not set the deadline for the move.

Dong-Yong Min Chin-Ku Lee mindy@donga.com sys1201@donga.com