Saturday, March 29, 2008

[The Chosun Ilbo, March 11 2008] The Roh-Friendly Media Discovers Press Freedom

The Broadcasting and Communication Commission, which merges the functions of the Ministry of Information and Communication and the Korean Broadcasting Commission, has been in limbo for the last 10 days. The launch of the BCC is part of the Lee Myung-bak administration’s plans to streamline government, whose ranks ballooned during the previous government. A law setting the legal basis for the launch of the BCC was put into effect on Feb. 29. But a confirmation hearing of BCC chief designate Choi See-joong, an erstwhile chairman of Gallup Korea, has been dragging on due to opposition from opposition lawmakers and has prevented the formation of the commission leadership.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 11 2008] Simple Question Had a Billion-Dollar Answer

Steve Chen, one of the founders and the chief technology officer of YouTube, said the super-successful video-sharing website was born of a simple question: "How could I share a video that I took at a party?"

Chen, wearing jeans and a dress shirt and a head of spiky hair, was speaking in a lecture on Monday at Seoul National University, where he talked about the website's evolution for about half an hour.

"I conceived of YouTube as a place more than just a video-creating site, where a user could show what they created to people all over the world," the 30-year-old tech whiz said.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 11 2008] Samsung Phones Top Consumer Poll for 7 Years Straight

A new consumer poll in the U.S. shows when it comes to cellphone brands, Samsung is winning the hearts and wallets of Americans.

For the seventh year straight Samsung Electronics' mobile phones ranked no. 1 in terms of "consumer loyalty," according to Brand Keys, a leading U.S. research consulting firm.

Samsung has become the only company in the category surveyed to stay at the top for seven consecutive years.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 10 2008] Editors Publish White Paper on Press Controls

The Korea News Editors Association published a white paper on the Roh Moo-hyun administration’s draconian press regulations. The paper is a detailed compilation of the Roh government's on such issues as restriction of journalists' access to government offices right after his inauguration in 2003 and his closure of press rooms at government agencies as part of the so-called "advanced media support system" in May 2007.

The white paper includes major newspaper editorials, statements by press and civic groups, and commentary by political parties. It also contains the texts of the press regulations.

KNEA chairman Byun Yong-shik said the association was publishing the paper “to show vividly who attempted to trample the press underfoot and how journalists fought back. We must show clearly that anyone who attempts to suppress the press will have to pay dearly."
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 10 2008] KT, KTF Seek Merger

A merger sought by KT, the country's top fixed-line communications service provider, and KTF, the country's second-ranking mobile phone service provider, is emerging as the biggest matter of interest in the telecommunications industry this year.

The two firms began discussing the possible merger when SK Telecom, the top mobile operator, purchased second-ranking fixed-line carrier Hanarotelecom.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 7 2008] Gov't Insiders May Lose Exclusive Calling Prefix

Some Koreans are curious about why their new president will use a 017 cell phone prefix when making mobile calls to businessmen and others outside Cheong Wa Dae.

The prefix, formerly used by Shinsegi Telecom, which was merged into SK Telecom in 2002, is somewhat unexpected given that all new mobile subscribers today use a number with a 010 prefix.

It's because Cheong Wa Dae in the late 1990s purchased a number of cell phone numbers for its staff from Shinsegi Telecom.

As the mobile operator built many of its base stations near military bases, the police, the military and other agents of the country used to subscribe to the operator, a telecommunications industry official said. The president's mobile phone number was also purchased in those days.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 6 2008] Chosun Ilbo 'ireader' an Instant Hit

Some 19,000 people downloaded a program for the Chosun Ilbo’s new “ireader” digital paper service on Wednesday, the day it was launched. The number is outstanding, given that altogether only 90,230 people have downloaded a program for the New York Times’ digital paper service over the whole of last year.

On Wednesday, some 10,000 people read 100,000 pages of news articles via the ireader service. Users were impressed by the easy readability and convenient online functions. A netizen said the service was better than expected and its success would be “amazing” if it can be used with global hit gadgets like Apple’s iPhone.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 5 2008] Chosun Ilbo to Commemorate An Jung-geun

The Chosun Ilbo will lead a series of events until 2010 to mark the 100th anniversary of Korean independence activist An Jung-geun’s killing of Japan’s first prime minister Hirobumi Ito and the 200th anniversary of his death, in cooperation with civic organizations.


The Chosun Ilbo will support a donation drive for a memorial to An, which will cost W16 billion (US$1=W947). The government will pay W13 billion for the construction and the remaining W3 billion will be covered by donations. The Chosun Ilbo will also actively sponsor commemorative international academic seminars and dedicate next year’s Chuncheon Marathon to the event. The newspaper hosts the marathon every October.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 5 2008] Beacon of Truth

On the occasion of its 88th anniversary, the Chosun Ilbo pledges to act as a beacon guiding the public.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 5 2008] BoA’s Latest Album Tops Japanese Charts

Singer BoA has topped the Japanese weekly Oricon music chart with her latest album. The Korean singer released her sixth regular album “The Face” in Japan, where it took first place in the chart announced on Tuesday morning.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 5 2008] Shock Greets Chosun Film on N.Korean Refugees

Viewers in Korea and abroad responded with shock to a documentary on North Korean refugees produced by the Chosun Ilbo and aired on cable TV channels Monday. Internet portal sites including and Naver were inundated with postings saying it had been high time the story was told.

One Internet user, a subscriber to, said, "It's been 10 years since the news about 3 million starved North Korean people spread around the world. The South Korean people, press and broadcasters should be ashamed for having turned a deaf ear to the situation in the North." The user added, "I'd like to praise the Chosun Ilbo and Durihana Mission," a South Korean group supporting North Korean refugees.

Another Web user, who watched the first of the documentary's four parts on cable channel tvN, said, "Watching the program chilled my heart. The program really made me question myself." As of Tuesday, some 90 people had donated approximately W9 million (US$1=W947) to Durihana Mission as a result of the program.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 4 2008] Samsung Clinches Japan WiBro Deal

In a ray of hope for Korea's biggest electronics maker, Samsung is set to advance into two of the world's most competitive wireless markets, the U.S. and Japan.

UQ Communications, a Japanese consortium of six companies including telecom giant KDDI and Kyocera, announced Monday it has selected Samsung Electronics as its mobile WiBro equipment provider.

The consortium, established to provide high-speed mobile Internet services, acquired WiBro business rights in December last year.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 3 2008] China Narrows Tech Know-How Gap With Korea

China continues to catch up with Korea in technology know-how. A study in November found that the overall technology gap between Chinese and Korean manufacturers has now narrowed to 3.8 years. The study of 608 companies in 10 key industries was conducted by the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 3 2008] Naver Accused of Unfair Trade Practices

The Fair Trade Commission alleges unfair business practices at NHN, the operator of the nation's largest portal site Naver, which has a 70 percent share in the domestic Internet portal market, it emerged Sunday. The antitrust watchdog accuses NHN of abusing its market dominance to force content providers to accept unfair business deals.

The FTC has been investigating Korea’s six major portals -- NHN, Daum Communication, SK Communications, Yahoo Korea, Empas and KTH -- over alleged irregularities, including abuse of their dominant positions, price rigging, illegal subcontracting and unfair deals.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 3 2008] BBC to Air Chosun Ilbo’s N.Korea Documentary

The Chosun Ilbo will introduce a global cross-media program in cooperation with the world's leading broadcasters. The newspaper has agreed with BBC, BBC World and TBS of Japan to air a documentary series about North Korean refugees entitled "On The Border" throughout the world.

The newspaper is negotating with more broadcasters in the U.S. and Europe. "On The Border" is a four-part high-definition documentary series based on materials Chosun Ilbo journalists gathered on the human rights situation of the North Korean refugees. The Chosun Ilbo organized a special team in May last year and reporters spent 10 months, sometimes at considerable risk, gathering the material.
[The Chosun Ilbo, February 29 2008] New Players Join Top 10 Mobile Phone Makers

New big players are emerging in the mobile phone industry. The Financial Times said Thursday that the U.S.' Apple, Canada's Research in Motion (RIM) and China's ZTE joined the ranks of the world's 10 largest mobile phone makers in 2007, "underlining how technology advances and emerging markets are producing a new cast of winners and losers in the industry."
[The Chosun Ilbo, February 29 2008] Korea's Mobile Services Becoming Friendlier

A fingernail-sized chip that stores subscriber information is set to change South Korea's mobile phone culture, allowing people to choose which handset they want to use according to their outfit and occasion. In addition, roaming fees in China are expected to be cut by up to 70 percent starting next month.

Korea's second-largest mobile carrier said Thursday that it will lift the "lock-in" function on its universal subscriber identity module (USIM) cards starting next month.

The announcement was made by KTF president Cho Young-chu during a ceremony marking the one-year anniversary of the company's Show third-generation mobile service.

Market leader SK Telecom also plans to lift the lock-in function for its T Live third-generation service starting March 27.
[The Chosun Ilbo, February 29 2008] Asiana to Launch In-Flight Audio Book Service

Asiana Airlines will be the first Korean carrier to offer an in-flight audio book service. The company said Thursday that it will launch the service from March. Of foreign airlines operating in Korea, Emirates Airline and Singapore Airlines currently offer the service.
[The Chosun Ilbo, February 29 2008] Bill Passed to Vitalize Korea's Robotics Industry

Korea's robotics industry is coming alive with support from lawmakers. The National Assembly passed a bill Tuesday aimed at stimulating the development and distribution of "intelligent robots."

An intelligent robot refers to service or personal robots that interact with people for various needs like educating children and helping out old people in their daily lives.

An intelligent robot is a step forward from a one-armed manipulator that's limited to repetitive tasks, as intelligent robots are able to recognize their surroundings and cope with changing situations.

The new law calls for developing research plans and policies to promote the intelligent robot market as well as creating industrial standards for robotics products.
[The Chosun Ilbo, February 28 2008] LG Signs Cross-Licensing Pact with GE

LG Electronics Wednesday said it has signed a cross-licensing pact with a unit of General Electric. The agreement allows LG and GE Consumer and Industrial to use each other's patented technologies without paying licensing fees for refrigerators and cooking appliances. Since 1999 when they jointly developed a light wave-microwave oven, LG and GE have maintained a technological and business partnership.
[The Chosun Ilbo, February 27 2008] SK Telecom Setting Up Challenger to Auction

SK Telecom will open an Internet marketplace to compete with Gmarket and Auction. The company said it will launch online shop The 11st at 11:11 a.m. on Wednesday. The announcement was made at a press conference at the Lotte Hotel on Tuesday.

SK Telecom has built up experiences in the Internet shopping field by running Morning365 and Natemall as an option in the online contents business. The launch of 11st is a move to build on that.
[The Chosun Ilbo, February 27 2008] Soldiers to Get High-Tech Combat Uniforms

Soldiers of the future operating in winter will wear cold-weather clothing equipped with temperature-adjusting mechanisms. Their color-shifting uniforms will use digital camouflage patterns that mimic their surroundings, be it rocks or trees. Their bulletproof helmets will be outfitted with global positioning systems (GPS), image-transmitting devices and long-distance communications equipment. Previously imaginable only in sci-fi movies, this kind of high-tech gear will be supplied to South Korea's servicemen by 2020.


Soldiers will also be equipped with micro personal computer systems and anti-biochemical capabilities. By 2016 their helmets will be upgraded to resist small arms fire from one to two meters away. They will also be equipped with short-range communication devices, including headsets and image-transmitting equipment.
[The Chosun Ilbo, February 26 2008] Sony, Sharp Agree to Form LCD Joint Venture

Sony on Tuesday formally announced plans to set up a joint venture with Sharp in the next-generation LCD business. Sony currently has a panel-making venture with Samsung Electronics, but the Korean conglomerate is in hot water over a massive corruption scandal.
[The Chosun Ilbo, February 26 2008] Skype Phones to Hit Offline Stores

Phones exclusively designed for Internet phone service Skype are to go on sale in offline stores after so far being sold only online. Auction, the Korean operator of the Skype phone service, said Monday it will sell Belkin Wi-Fi phones at 50 E-Mart stores in Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province. Belkin's Wi-Fi phones have a software program needed for Skyping.

With the phone, people can use the Internet phone service anywhere worldwide where there is access to wireless LAN. The phones cost W160,000 (US$1=W947) each. Auction plans to sell them at more retail shops. A spokesman for Auction said that introducing the Skype mobile service to Korea would bring huge changes to the domestic telecommunication industry.
[The Chosun Ilbo, February 26 2008]

Samsung's partnership with Japanese appliance maker Sony remains intact, a senior Samsung executive has said, denying reports that the alliance has come to an end.

Samsung LCD president Lee Sang-wan, at an industrial meeting at the Renaissance Hotel on Monday, denied a breakup with Sony. The Japanese news outlets recently reported that Sony signed a long-term contract with Sharp to purchase next-generation liquid crystal displays. Asked if there is anything wrong with Samsung-Sony partnership, Lee said that his company did not sever ties with the Japanese firm.
[The Chosun Ilbo, February 26 2008] Pyongyang Media Stresses National Unity

On the day of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s inauguration, the organ of the Central Committee of the North Korean Workers’ Party offered only a veiled reference to the event. "We can advance independent unification and peaceful prosperity only when we achieve grand unity of the entire nation based on the principle of national self-reliance,” the Rodong Shinmun wrote. North Korea has yet to report Lee's election, more than two months since election day.

In an editorial headed "Our own nation should uphold the banner of independent unification," the daily said, “Our nation is a spiritual weapon to achieve self-reliant unification and peaceful prosperity." It added, "The cooperation of the entire Korean nation for unification is the only legitimate way to achieve peace, wealth and prosperity for the nation."
[The Chosun Ilbo, February 25 2008] Faulty Batteries Sending Laptops into Meltdown

Several notebook computer batteries have recently melted or exploded due to battery overheating. According to the Mapo Fire Station on Sunday, in the latest incident overheated lithium-ion batteries in a Samsung notebook computer caused the plastic lid of the battery case to melt. The accident happened early Sunday afternoon while a 34-year-old woman identified as Chung was using the notebook resting on a pillow at her home in Yeonnam-dong, Mapo. In previous cases on Jan. 8 and 21, the batteries of LG Electronics notebooks had exploded or melted. LG suspended the sale of the notebook model in question, the Xnote Z1-AE007.
[The Chosun Ilbo, February 25 2008] Korean-American Video Activist Battles for Obama

A Korean-American filmmaker is in charge of creating video clips that are playing a role in increasing support for Senator Barack Obama, the frontrunner for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

"I found that people have little understanding of the change that Senator Barack Obama is advocating. I thought from my experience in using videos for civil movements that videos would be the best way to promote the need for change and for Obama. That's why I decided to work for the Obama campaign," Annabel Park said.

Joining the contest in December last year as chief of a promotional video team, Park has produced some 20 five-minute video clips which have generated a positive response. A clip interviewing actress Kelly Hu in support of the senator was viewed some 10,000 times, and a music video called "Oh Bama" drew wide attention. She has also produced Spanish-language videos to draw support from Hispanics.
[The Chosun Ilbo, February 22 2008] Korea's WCDMA Subscribers Surpass 7 Mil.

More than seven million Koreans have signed up for WCDMA mobile phone services. WCDMA, which stands for wideband code division multiple access, is a third-generation mobile standard that is widely used in Europe.

KTF said Thursday that more than four million people had subscribed to its Show WCDMA service as of Wednesday.

It took KTF more than four months to woo one million subscribers after it launched the service in March last year, but it took only two months to increase the number from three million to four million.

Some 3.3 million people have subscribed to SK Telecom’s competing T Live service, meaning a total of 7.3 million Koreans now use WCDMA services.
[The Chosun Ilbo, February 22 2008] Arirang 1 Satellite Declared Dead

The Ministry of Science and Technology said Thursday that it officially ended the mission of the multipurpose satellite Arirang 1 on Wednesday. The satellite has been out of contact since December 30 last year.

Launched in December 1999, Arirang 1 photographed and sent back 440,000 images while orbiting the globe 43,000 times for eight years, three years longer than its supposed life span.
[The Chosun Ilbo, February 21 2008] Time for the KBS President to Leave

The KBS union in a statement on Wednesday called for the resignation of Jung Yun-joo, the president and CEO of the state-owned broadcaster. The union said over 80 percent of staff at KBS believed Jung is incapable of leading the company, according to a survey, and the CEO no longer has the support of his workers.
[The Chosun Ilbo, February 21 2008] Korean Culture to Journey into Space

Korea's first astronaut will be taking Korean traditions and culture with him when he lifts off for the International Space Station in April.

The Ministry of Science and Technology unveiled Wednesday a total of 55 items that will go into space with astronaut Ko San: ten mission logos, space suits, two bokjumeoni (a traditional Korean pouch believed to bring good fortune), Byeol-dong-i and his sidekick Wi-ppo (two mascots of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute), traditional purses, banknotes, and more.
[The Chosun Ilbo, February 21 2008] Attack on TV Star Renews Old Fears

A violent attack on popular TV entertainer No Hong-chul just two months after actress Lee Seung-shin was assaulted by a stalker has again struck fear in Korea's entertainment industry.

Police said that a man identified only by his surname Kim waited for No in front of No's apartment in Apgujeong, Seoul on Tuesday night and beat him when the entertainer returned home.

No suffered a cut to his left ear and a bruise on his face. He is now receiving treatment at a hospital in Seoul.


Attacks on entertainers are not uncommon in Korea. Entertainers can be easily targeted due to the nature of their job and they can hardly protect their privacy from determined individuals.
[The Chosun Ilbo, February 21 2008] Obama Warms Up to Korean-American Voters Online

Despite Barack Obama's strong showing at the polls, the aspiring first African-American U.S. president isn't letting his guard down yet with the party convention for the presidential nomination still months away.

In a bid to attract more Asian-American supporters Obama posted a message in Korean on his campaign Web site, outlining his policy agenda including health care, civil rights and immigration reform.

The page-long message which was also translated into Chinese and Vietnamese underlines Obama's determination to pass a law that would provide affordable education to even undocumented students.
[The Chosun Ilbo, February 20 2008] Microsoft Guilty of Patent Infringement

A Seoul court has ruled in favor of a Korea Aerospace University professor who sued Microsoft for patent infringement. The court on Tuesday said the software giant’s Korean branch partially violated the patent of Prof. Lee Keung-hae. Lee has the patent for a technology for automatically switching the input mode between Korean and English in a Word program.

The interim ruling comes eight years after Lee filed the suit in 2000. A more complete ruling on the amount of damages due to Lee will be made later.

Friday, March 28, 2008

[The Chosun Ilbo, February 20 2008] New York Philharmonic’s Pyongyang Gig on Live TV

The North Korean government has agreed to a live broadcast of the New York Philharmonic concert in Pyongyang on Feb. 26, the New York Times reported Tuesday. An official from the North Korean Mission to the UN in New York recently sent confirmation to the orchestra by e-mail, the daily reported.

"We’re very pleased that they’ve finally confirmed it,” it quoted New York Philharmonic president Zarin Mehta as saying. The paper commented, “Since the invitation to perform became widely known in October last year, the orchestra has had to confront criticism that performing in North Korea would lend legitimacy” to the regime there.
[The Chosun Ilbo, February 20 2008] Samsung Elec. Ranks No. 1 in Flat Screen TV Sales

Samsung Electronics has retained the number one spot in the world for the second straight year in terms of flat-screen TV sales. The latest ranking also shows Samsung has widened its lead over number two player Sony.
[The Chosun Ilbo, February 19 2008] Int'l Journalists Group Condemns Roh's Press Policy

Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a Paris-based international non-governmental organization that advocates freedom of the press, criticized the Roh Moo-hyun administration's so-called "advanced media support system" in a recent report.

RSF last Wednesday released its annual evaluation of press freedoms in 98 countries around the world.

On the press situation in Korea, the report said, "The (Roh) administration in May 2007 adopted new rules entitled 'Measures to develop a modern system of media support' which meant the closure of most press rooms within public buildings in the capital Seoul. New rooms were built but they no longer allowed journalists free access to ministries and major administrations as had been the case previously."
[The Chosun Ilbo, February 18 2008]'s New 'Corrections' Page

On the first pages of the Internet websites of the New York Times and the Washington Post is a menu option that cannot be found on the homepages of Korean news media. It's a button that leads to a "Corrections" page. For example, accessing the Jan. 11 (Korean time) edition of and clicking on the Corrections link on the menu located on the left side of the screen, a viewer can see 15 corrected articles in fields ranging from sports to real estate to books. Major U.S. news media aren't satisfied with just putting a corrections link on the first pages of their websites. Articles containing mistakes are flagged with a subtitle "Correction Appended" which is printed under the headline. And the corrected content is written in a different font at the end of those articles. Readers accessing news through Google searches can read the corrected New York Times articles.


Starting today, has begun a service on its website that shows a corrected version of articles and writings that refute previous articles. Placed on the middle of the menu on the right hand side of the first page of is a "Corrections" icon. Linked are corrections to erroneous articles that have appeared on over the last three years. And the erroneous articles carry separate signs that read "Correction Appended." Now our readers will be able to read both the erroneous article and the corrected version on the same page. This may be a small move, but we believe it is the way to regain the trust of our readers.
[The Chosun Ilbo, February 18 2008] Phone Industry Unhappy Over Hanaro Takeover Approval

Korea’s anti-trust regulator on Friday conditionally approved the proposed takeover of Hanaro Telecom by Korea’s leading wireless operator.

The Fair Trade Commission made the ruling in a general meeting with one attached condition -- that SK Telecom redistribute the 800 MHz frequency it currently monopolizes. The FTC said that the merger of SK Telecom’s mobile phone business and Hanaro’s high-speed Internet business could lead to a monopoly.

But the decision prompted opposition from all parties -- including SK itself, its rivals KTF and LG Telecom, and the Ministry of Information and Communication, which has the final say on the takeover.
[The Chosun Ilbo, February 18 2008] Korean CEOs Name IPhone Most Inspirational Gadget

South Korean CEOs consider Apple's iPhone as the most inspirational invention of last year.

In a poll of 590 CEOs conducted by the Samsung Economic Research Institute, 26.4 percent of respondents chose the iPhone as the no. 1 item of inspiration among devices included in Time Magazine's "Inventions of 2007" list.

The iPhone is not just a mobile phone, but rather a portable multimedia computer that plays music and video, takes pictures, and comes with a built-in mapping system.

The CEOs' choice of the iPhone shows that local business leaders think highly of functional integration and refined design, the research institute said.

A flexible display that can be folded or even rolled up like paper also received a favorable response, gaining 21.8 percent of the vote.
[The Chosun Ilbo, February 18 2008] Blu-Ray Wins Format War

The Blu-ray camp appears set to declare victory over the rival HD DVD camp in the next-generation data storage format war. Korea's top two electronics giants, Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, are both in the Blu-ray camp.

Nihon Keizai Shimbun and other Japanese media reported Sunday that Toshiba, which has led the HD DVD camp, is about to abandon its high-definition format.

The company is expected to decide soon whether it will exit the business completely, reduce production of HD DVD equipment, or withdraw from the Japanese and U.S. markets where sales have been slow and focus instead on Europe.
[The Chosun Ilbo, February 15 2008] Celebrated Conflict Photog Reveals True Identity

Those who followed the story of the 23 Koreans kidnapped in Afghanistan in July last year may remember the name Kim Joo-seon, a Korean freelance reporter who went where no other Korean reporters were allowed to go. Kim scored an exclusive interview with Taliban commanders in the Ghazni region, the base of the Taliban militants, and filed story after story and photo after photo for the Chosun Ilbo, though few people knew who she was.

Now "Kim" has finally revealed her true identity: Jean Chung. "I hid my real name because of my parents," she said. "I'm the only daughter in my family. My parents would have a heart attack if they knew I was in Afghanistan. They still think that I was in India."
[The Chosun Ilbo, February 15 2008] Warner Bros. to Build $4 Bil. Theme Park in Korea

Warner Bros., a major American movie studio, has decided to invest US$4 billion to build a theme park in the Misari area of Hanam, Gyeonggi Province, a key member of the presidential Transition Committee said on Thursday.

This committee member said that Warner Bros. chairman Barry M. Meyer and executive vice president John Schulman are expected to attend the inauguration ceremony of president-elect Lee Myung-bak on Feb. 25.
[The Chosun Ilbo, February 15 2008] KT to Launch 3rd Satellite into Orbit

Korea's leading broadband communications service provider KT will launch its third satellite into orbit in 2010 in a bid to accommodate the increasing demand for high definition digital broadcasting.

The new-and-improved satellite Mugunghwa 6 will replace its predecessor Mugunghwa 3 which will be put out of service in 2011.

The soon-to-be decommissioned satellite provides TV broadcasts to more than 2 million subscribers of Skylife, a commercial satellite broadcaster in Korea.

Koreans who live in areas where cable and terrestrial TV reception are both unavailable are reportedly Skylife's main customers. KT has two satellites currently operating in orbit.
[The Hankyoreh, March 26 2008] Lee appoints spy chief, top media policymaker

President Lee Myung-bak Wednesday appointed former Justice Minister Kim Sung-ho as the new chief of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and Choi Si-jung, one of his most trusted advisors, as the new chairman of the Broadcasting and Communications Commission (BCC).

Kim was nominated as Lee's first spy chief in late February but failed to undergo the National Assembly's confirmation hearing due to rival parties' opposition stemming from an allegation that he had received bribes from Samsung Group while serving as a senior prosecutor years ago in return for favors to Samsung in criminal probes.

Under the current law, the president can appoint Cabinet ministers and other minister-level officials, including the heads of NIS and BCC, if political parties fail to hold a confirmation hearing for over 20 days after their nominations are reported to the Assembly.
[The Hankyoreh, March 18 2008] 100 entrepreneurs picked for presidential hotline

Cheong Wa Dae, the presidential office, said Wednesday that it has selected 100 entrepreneurs eligible to directly call President Lee Myung-bak 24 hours a day over business difficulties.

"Lee will this week open a hotline cell phone solely for entrepreneurs as part of his drive to enhance corporate investment and competitiveness. Cheong Wa Dae has picked about 100 entrepreneurs who will be allowed access to the presidential hotline," the office said in a press release.
[The Hankyoreh, March 18 2008] Roadkill is not just on the roads

We’ve all seen it as we drive by. Roadkill, defined as animals that have been hit by vehicles, is everywhere. But these days, it is not just on the road. It has become the subject of both a research study and film documenting the study.


A film documenting Choi’s study, entitled “One Day on the Road” and directed by Hwang Yun, will be screened exclusively at art houses in Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Daejeon and Gwangju on March 27. This is the first documentary on the ecosystem to be shown in theaters in South Korea.
[The Hankyoreh, March 18 2008] Film on tragedy of N.K. defectors to be released

SEOUL, March 18 (Yonhap)The first Korean film depicting the tragic reality of life for North Korean defectors will be released by the end of June after four years of "quiet" filming and production, the film's producer said Tuesday.

"Crossing," a story directed by Kim Tae-gyun and starring Korean TV star Cha In-pyo, depicts an 8,000 km arduous and lonely journey made by an 11-year-old North Korean boy in search of his coal-miner father who ended up defecting to South Korea.


"I had to be very cautious in making this film because of the political sensitivity of the defector issue," Kim said during a news conference in which part of the incomplete film was open to media for the first time.
[The Hankyoreh, March 18 2008] [Column] Hypocritical appointments for the broadcast media

Yun Tae-jin, Professor, Graduate School of Communication and Arts, Yonsei University

The reason children fight is simple. One kid jokingly hits another on the back of the head. The other cusses him out for a while, then sends him a fist when his anger still hasn’t disappeared. The buddy who had started playing around feels he’s been done wrong, since he got verbal abuse, and hit to boot. Now the fight gets bigger. If you really look at it, the friend who did the cursing and hitting is more at fault. If you verbally attack someone for doing something, then do just the same, isn’t that double jeopardy?

Which is why it is annoying to have the country’s so-called leaders acting like children. ...


Does Lee’s administration have any interest in serving the public interest required of broadcasting, when it nominates a close aide to the president as Broadcasting Commission director and someone with a Ph.D. in management to be the Blue House secretary for broadcasting and communication? If Jung steps down, Lee just might appoint someone who has spent all his life in construction to be the next president of KBS. Things are off to the wrong start. The Broadcasting Commission was, from the start, supposed to be an independent government body. It was not supposed to be something the president got to name the head of. Lee said he wanted to fix problematic laws when the election was over, so I want to propose starting with the broadcasting and communications law. If that is too much to ask for, try appointing someone who makes sense. That would at least be a response that’s a little better than children fighting.
[The Hankyoreh, March 17 2008] N. Korea accuses Seoul of stepping up 'propaganda broadcasting'

North Korea accused conservatives in South Korea of stepping up "propaganda broadcasting" aimed at fueling cross-border tensions and undermining the communist regime, a state-controlled front said Sunday.

In a communique carried by the (North) Korean Central News Agency, the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland claimed conservatives in the South were using radio broadcasts as a tool to bring down the Pyongyang regime.

It said broadcasts by North Korea Reform Radio, the Open Radio for North Korea and several Christian evangelical programs reaching North Korea were using human rights as a weapons to hurt the communist regime.
[The Hankyoreh, March 15 2008] Korean TV networks demand YouTube tackle illegal uploads

South Korea's three major broadcasters said Friday they have called for YouTube's local unit to tackle unauthorized uploads of their TV programs.

The demand over intellectual property rights is the first of its kind in South Korea since YouTube, the world's most popular video-sharing Web site owned by Google Inc., launched a Korean-language version of its service in January.

South Korean broadcasters, including the state-run Korea Broadcasting System, sent a joint letter of protest to YouTube's subsidiary in Seoul, demanding the company stop allowing uploads of copyrighted video content.

"YouTube Korea's service has significantly infringed on the protected contents of the three broadcasters," the broadcasters said in a statement. The broadcasters expect "YouTube to comply with local laws on intellectual property rights," according to the statement.

Unless YouTube takes aggressive action against the unauthorized uploads, the broadcasters will take legal measures, the statement said.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

[The Hankyoreh, March 13 2008] Samsung Group heir cleared over failed Internet venture

A special prosecutor cleared the son of Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee and dozens of senior Samsung executives Thursday of allegations that they illegally covered up a huge loss from a failed Internet venture led by the heir.

"We decided not to indict them on the grounds that there was not enough evidence to prove the allegations," special prosecutor Cho Joon-woong told reporters.

The decision was the first by the special prosecutor authorized to verify a slew of corruption allegations against the family-controlled conglomerate.

A civic organization filed a complaint against the chairman's son and heir, Jae-yong, and 27 Samsung executives, in 2005, accusing them of breach of trust over a failed Internet business.
[The Hankyoreh, March 10 2008] [Editorial] Ethics and pride in the media

There has been another series of migrations from the political desks at major newspapers and straight into the Blue House. Last month, a senior Joongang Ilbo editorial writer quit his newspaper and went immediately to work in the office of the Blue House secretary for political affairs. Now, this past week, one has learned that the head of the political page at the Hankook Ilbo, is also moving to the same office at the Blue House.

This is not the first time journalists have entered politics, but with these two individuals it is troublesome. The latter was in charge of the Hankook Ilbo’s political coverage right up to the day before he submitted his resignation. Two days before leaving the Joongang Ilbo, the former wrote a political column for the paper. Both were heavyweights and were very influential within their news organizations. It makes you suspect them and their respective organizations for their coverage and editorial positions to know these two were writing articles and editorials while all along preparing to go work for Lee Myung-bak. This is not something to take lightly, since the news media is supposed to be based on impartiality and objectiveness.
[The Hankyoreh, March 6 2008] [Editorial] Degrading the media

When Hong Seok-hyun, the head of the JoongAng Ilbo, appeared at the office of the prosecution in central Seoul for questioning in connection with the ongoing investigation into the Samsung Group scandal, the behavior of some of the reporters working for the mass-circulation newspaper was enough to make other reporters feel ashamed. A former Samsung Group worker, who had been fired, arrived in time to protest Hong’s appearance but was immediately shoved by a reporter with his camera; the reporter currently works for the JoongAng’s video team. When Hong returned home, around four to five JoongAng reporters blocked a group of other journalists from him, engaging in a physical scuffle. Their behavior makes them seem more like Hong’s private body guards.

By using the privilege reporters have to access a scene, the JoongAng reporters served as a shield for their employer. They even hampered the work of their colleagues, who were trying to get a glimpse of Hong for their stories. This is tantamount to negating their raison d’etre. Photo and television journalists, who are covering the Samsung investigation for other newspapers, issued a statement, asking for an official apology and a promise that this kind of thing would not happen again.
[The Hankyoreh, March 3 2008] N.K. steps up condemnation of military drill

North Korean news media have stepped up their offensive on a joint military drill involving South Korea and the United States that started early this week, calling it a "frantic war move."

The North's Korean Central Broadcasting Station, monitored here, said on Monday the joint military exercises, codenamed "Key Resolve", are "aimed at the rapid deployment of the U.S. imperialist aggressor forces and South Korean forces, the formation of combined forces and commando operations against the DPRK for another Korean war."
[The Hankyoreh, February 28 2008] [Editorial] Broadcast control

As a controversial bill to create a body governing both broadcasting and telecommunications passed the National Assembly the day before yesterday, the nation will soon see the launch of the Broadcasting-Telecommunications Commission. In this day and age, when the broadcast and telecommunications industries are quickly converging, it makes sense to set up a body that can formulate new policies. However, it is also worrisome that the new body will be under the control of the president. The status of the commission, and the method by which the body will be constructed, could threaten this ideal. Under these circumstances, President Lee Myung-bak’s new administration reportedly considering naming Choi Si-jung, one of his senior political advisers and former president of Gallup Korea, to head the commission. Many analysts point out that the appointment of Choi might indicate Lee’s intention to take control of broadcasting.
[The Hankyoreh, February 14 2008] KT plans to launch satellite in 2010

KT Corp., South Korea's top fixed-line operator, said Thursday it plans to launch a new satellite to meet the growing demand of the country's satellite broadcasting service.

The company plans to launch the new satellite, named Mugunghwa-6, in June 2010 to replace the currently operating Mugunghwa-3, scheduled to be shut down in late 2011.

Mugunghwa-3 relays satellite broadcast service of Skylife Co.,a commercial satellite broadcaster, which has some 2.14 million subscribers.

The new satellite will be equipped with the latest device capable of relaying high-definition digital images, according to KT.

LG CNS Sets Up IPTV for Hospital Beds(The Korea Times)

LG CNS Sets Up IPTV for Hospital Beds (The Korea Times, 24/3/08):
"By Cho Jin-seo
Staff Reporter

No more fights over TV channels and no more complaint over the meal menu in hospital wards. The introduction of personal Internet-TV screens may improve the everyday life of hospital patients.

LG CNS said that it has installed the Internet-protocol TV (IPTV) systems for 150 beds at Kyunghee University Medical Center, northeastern Seoul. The personal TV, similar to that of on-seat flight TV screens on international flights, started its operation on Monday.

The 15-inch screen is attached to each bed using a flexible cradle, and has a built-in set top box on the rear. Patients can select over 60 free cable and terrestrial channels, or watch pay-per-view movies.

Furthermore, from this July, they will be able to select meal menus using the touch-sensitive screen, and order other items delivered to the bed from an online shopping mall, LG CNS said."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

AsiaMedia :: NORTH KOREA: N. Korea accuses Seoul of stepping up 'propaganda broadcasting'

AsiaMedia :: NORTH KOREA: N. Korea accuses Seoul of stepping up 'propaganda broadcasting':
"North Korean media claims certain South Korean radio broadcasts use human rights discussions as 'weapons' to bring down the Pyongyang regime

The Korea Herald
Monday, March 17, 2008

North Korea accused conservatives in South Korea of stepping up 'propaganda broadcasting' aimed at fueling cross-border tensions and undermining the communist regime, a state-controlled front was quoted as saying by Yonhap News Agency.

In a communique carried by the (North) Korean Central News Agency, the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland claimed conservatives in the South were using radio broadcasts as a tool to bring down the Pyongyang regime.

It said broadcasts by North Korea Reform Radio, the Open Radio for North Korea and several Christian evangelical programs reaching North Korea were using human rights as a weapons to hurt the communist regime.

This, the reunification front said, is in direct violation of the spirit of the June 15 Declaration reached between the two leaders in 2000, and would have a detrimental effect on bilateral relations.
'Such actions are anti-unification and anti-nationalistic in nature and will lead to ideological confrontation,' it said in the message picked up in Seoul."

AsiaMedia :: KOREA: N.K. refugee women sold to Chinese, Chosun documentary shows

AsiaMedia :: KOREA: N.K. refugee women sold to Chinese, Chosun documentary shows:
"South Korea's 'Chosun Ilbo' newspaper releases a four-part series exposing the sale of North Korean women as wives

The Korea Herald
Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Many of the female North Korean refugees in China are being sold into marriage or forced to perform unpaid labor, according to a television documentary, reported Bloomberg News.

'Human rights groups estimate there are about 100,000 North Korean refugees hiding out in China, and seven out of 10 are females,' Park Jong-in, senior producer of 'On the Border,' told journalists at the Seoul Foreign Correspondents' Club. 'Many cross the border through brokers who sell them as wives to farmers in rural China, and sometimes as workers in the service industry who are never paid.'

Women from the ages of 18 to 20 are sold for 7,000 yuan ($989), those 21 to 25 are sold for 5,000 yuan, while women over 25 are sold for more than 3,000 yuan, according to Lee Hark-joon, the reporter on the four-part series by the media unit of South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper. Girls under 18 are also targeted, and can be sold at higher prices. A summary of the film was shown at the correspondents' club."

Monday, March 24, 2008

Korean TV networks demand YouTube tackle illegal uploads : Business : Home

Korean TV networks demand YouTube tackle illegal uploads [Hankyoreh, March 16, 2008]:
"South Korea's three major broadcasters said Friday they have called for YouTube's local unit to tackle unauthorized uploads of their TV programs.

The demand over intellectual property rights is the first of its kind in South Korea since YouTube, the world's most popular video-sharing Web site owned by Google Inc., launched a Korean-language version of its service in January.

South Korean broadcasters, including the state-run Korea Broadcasting System, sent a joint letter of protest to YouTube's subsidiary in Seoul, demanding the company stop allowing uploads of copyrighted video content.

'YouTube Korea's service has significantly infringed on the protected contents of the three broadcasters,' the broadcasters said in a statement."

[Analysis] Samsung Group struggles with shattered image and decline in morale : Business : Home

The Hankyoreh, March 21, 2008: [Analysis] Samsung Group struggles with shattered image and decline in morale: Outcome of independent counsel’s investigation could further damage once much sought after corporate culture

"A senior executive of Samsung Electronics Co., the flagship of Samsung Group, says the company has been suffering from a shattered image and a decline in its corporate culture after allegations of slush funds and other corporate irregularities rocked the world’s largest maker of computer memory chips. Corporate culture is one of the core components, along with products and human resources, used to gauge a company’s competitiveness. In the wake of the scandal, and following an investigation by an independent counsel to look into the allegations, Samsung, which turns 70th aniversary on March 22, is struggling with things that it has never experienced.

The corruption scandal was seen as a great shock to Samsung employees, who take a great deal of pride in working at one of South Korea’s best companies. In one orientation session for new employees, questions about the slush fund scandal arose. Some young and talented employees have quit the company."

Seoul opens free u-tourism trial service| News

Seoul opens free u-tourism trial service News
March 23, 2008

International IT firms' Korean units enter global market with localized technology| News

International IT firms' Korean units enter global market with localized technology News
[March 22, 2008]