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Broadcast watchdog likely to be split under new gov`t

Posted January. 09, 2013 03:04,   


The Korea Communications Commission will likely be split into a body that covers information, communications and broadcasting and an independent representative-system committee that handles media policy, including broadcast licensing.

A key member of the presidential transition committee told a Dong-A Ilbo reporter over the phone Tuesday, "Briefings to the Korea Communications Commission will be shared with the Economic 2 Team, which deals with communications for the commission, and the Women and Culture Team, which handles broadcasting. Government reorganization issues including the establishment of an information, communications and broadcasting body will be examined later."

The transition committee will examine forming a ministry exclusively for information, communications and technology by combining the functions dispersed at the Korea Communications Commission, the Public Administration and Security Ministry and the Culture, Sports and Tourism Ministry.

Also under consideration is an autonomous organization for politically sensitive issues, including assessment and license renewal for broadcast companies, appointments of the heads of state-owned broadcasters, and raising the TV licensing fee.

President-elect Park Geun-hye has pledged to set up an information, communications and technology ministry, tackle the inefficiency of the communications commission, which is composed of a representative system committee, and create synergy by converging the information, communications and technology sectors.

Five years ago, President Lee Myung-bak formed the commission by combining the communications division of the Information and Communications Ministry and the Korean Broadcasting Commission. Criticism arose over the representative system being operated based on the recommendations of three people from the opposition party and two from the presidential office and ruling party. The system is alleged to hamper prompt decision-making and cause negligence on communication issues that involves broadcasting`s industrial features.

The representative system committee is highly likely to be operated separately from the proposed information ministry for the sake of autonomy and neutrality. Yet calls are growing to retain the committee while guaranteeing independence by splitting the rights to personnel appointments and budget allocation.

The proposed information ministry could also be merged into the planned ministry for science and technology, a key part of the next president`s government reorganization plan.

The national security team, the control tower of policies on diplomacy, national defense and Korean reunification as pledged by Park, will be set up within the presidential office. Yoon Byeong-se, a transition committee member for foreign policy, national defense and unification, told a briefing, "The presidential office needs a control tower for foreign policy, national defense and unification policies," adding, "We`re considering setting up the national security team with an upgraded function and structure comparable to the Office of the Senior Secretary Office for Foreign Policy and National Security to the President." Yoon also said, "The national security team should have a structure that can be sustained regardless of a change in government."

The transition committee also said its primary purpose is to approach national security at a distance from politically motivated activities, adding, "This doesn`t mean a revival of the National Security Council of the Roh Moo-hyun administration." One proposal is integration of the offices of the presidential secretaries for foreign policy and national crisis management into the national security team, and another is making the team leader a Cabinet-level minister.