Friday, January 04, 2008

[The Hankyoreh, December 27 2007] New administration will allow newspapers to own broadcasting companies

Media policies will put competition first, with controls preventing media monopolies

With President-elect Lee Myung-bak of the main opposition Grand National Party to take office next February, observers expect there to be a big change in government polices regulating the nation’s media industry.

“For local newspapers to be competitive, we need to allow them not only to pursue paper media but also broadcasting businesses,” Choung Byoung-gug, a lawmaker who led Lee’s campaign staff, said on a recently broadcast radio program. “Still, we shouldn’t support them unconditionally. Rather we need to open the market and encourage the players to engage in free competition, providing a ‘media development fund’ for some time. In this process, companies without a competitive edge should disappear.”

Choung pointed out that newspaper companies should be allowed to provide cable and Internet-protocol TV services, but that regulations need to be in place to prevent them from seeking to begin terrestrial broadcasting. “If we allow newspaper firms to run broadcasting businesses, it could prompt concerns over an industrial monopoly by major media companies, but this could be controlled through caps on shareholding,” he said.

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