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2 Media Bodies Could Fall with Press Law

Posted January. 07, 2008 07:53,   


The next administration will scrap as early as this year a controversial press law that was enacted under the incumbent government.

The Culture and Tourism Ministry, which is in charge of handling media law, will report to the presidential transition committee the proposed abolition of the law and follow-up measures.

A committee official said Sunday, “President-elect Lee Myung-bak approves of the abolition of the press law just as pledged to voters, because it contains many poisonous and unconstitutional provisions.

“The Culture and Tourism Ministry also supports Lee on this, and will announce follow-up measures on the law’s abolition in a briefing Tuesday.”

One of the law’s major provisions says a single newspaper company has a monopoly if its share of the country’s circulation exceeds 30 percent or if three companies’ combined portion surpasses 60 percent. In both cases, they will be removed from the list of recipients for the Newspaper Development Fund.

The Constitutional Court has ruled the provision unconstitutional.

A transition committee official also said the Korea Commission for the Press and the Korea Newspaper Circulation Service will probably disappear along with the press law. He added, however, that follow-up measures will seek to allow a diversity of dailies to take part in the joint delivery system.

The fate of the Committee for Local Press is up in the air, but the transition committee said it will probably be scrapped since the body has caused constant fighting among regional newspapers.

After the 18th National Assembly is elected in the general elections in April, the transition committee and the conservative Grand National Party will submit a bill to scrap the press law and provide follow-up measures on organizations affected. At the same time, they will decide whether to introduce a bill to replace the press law this year.

A top aide to President-elect Lee said, “In contrast to the current press law, which seeks to stifle media critical of the incumbent administration instead of reflect the new media environment, the new law will focus on vitalizing and normalizing the newspaper market.”