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‘Media Cross-ownership to Diversify Public Opinions’

Posted May. 13, 2008 08:30,   


The rule banning newspaper companies from owning broadcast networks should be removed to ensure the diversity of public views, Moon Jae-wan, a law professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, said yesterday.

“Considering that state-owned terrestrial broadcasters control 77 percent of media sales in Korea, breaking their monopoly will contribute to securing a diversity of public views and freedom of the press,” Moon said in a paper distributed prior to a debate on media cross-ownership.

“(The government) should completely lift the cross-ownership ban to promote media diversity.”

Moon will present the paper at the debate scheduled for today at the New Broadcasting Telecommunication Center.

He also said Korea is one of few countries to prohibit newspapers from owning television stations. “Easing media cross-ownership has become an [international] trend since the acceleration of digitalization in the 1990s, but Korea is going against this trend,” Moon said.

On the newspaper monopoly in Korea, he said this is a common phenomenon seen in countries where media markets are well developed, such as Norway, Japan, Austria, Australia and the United Kingdom.

“Given that newspaper companies are facing a crisis, if (the government) limits their activities exclusively to dailies, the journalistic activities of newspapers will gradually be withered and could eventually lead to a crisis in journalism,” Moon said.

“The amendment to the broadcast law allowing newspapers to own broadcast networks should be quickly carried out separately from the privatization of KBS2 and MBC TV. Even if the law is revised now, privatization or cross-ownership will not occur. Therefore, deregulation is a priority.”