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Ministries get slow start on new English Web sites

Most Site delays after government shake-up

May 07,2008
Left: the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology’s English Web site still carries an introduction from the former Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development. Right: the photo section from the Ministry of Strategy and Finance’s English site features former Finance Minister Kwon O-kyu. [Taken from the Web]
Many ministries and government agencies are off to a slow start launching English-language Web sites since their reorganization in February. This is despite the fact that the Lee Myung-bak administration, which oversaw the reorganization, has made improving the nation’s communications in English one of its top priorities.
As of yesterday, the English Web site for the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, which leads Korea’s economic policies, could be accessed via Korea.net, the country’s official Web presence for foreigners, or via search engines such as Google. But an overview of the ministry was not available, and most of the existing contents came from the former Ministry of Finance and Economy. The new ministry was formed through a merger of MOFE and the Ministry of Planning and Budget.
The press releases section was up-to-date, covering yesterday’s releases, but the photo section had not been updated since the new ministry was created.
“This is a temporary site,” said Choi Jae-hoon, an official at the Ministry of Strategy and Finance. “Because the two big ministries were merged, it takes time to integrate and arrange the contents of their respective sites. We will open the fully-redesigned site late this month.”
The Financial Services Commission, which was formed through a merger of MOFE’s financial policy divisions and the Financial Supervisory Commission, does not have an English Web site at all, though the country is eager to communicate its financial policies to foreigners in an effort to become a Northeast Asian financial hub.
“We are now constructing the English site and will launch it by the end of July,” said an official who asked for anonymity.
The situation is similar for the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Korea Communications Commission.
The ministry was reborn from a merger of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development and parts of the Ministry of Science and Technology. The ministry’s English Web site still uses the name “MOE&HRD” here and there and has press releases regarding only education policies, the latest being an April 21 release as of yesterday.
Accordingly, foreigners could not get information in English about major science projects the ministry is in charge of, including Korea’s first astronaut project.
Kim Hyo-joong, an official at the ministry, explained that the current site was temporary and that the permanent site would open late this month.
The Korea Communications Commission, which was formed from parts of the Ministry of Information and Communication, Korean Broadcasting Commission and Korea Communications Commission, does not yet have an English Web site.
“Even our Korean Web site is just a temporary one, not to mention English,” said Kim Seung-youl, an official at the commission. “Since three organizations were combined and no single organization is significantly leading the integration, it is taking a long time to integrate the contents from the three bodies. The design of the Korean Web site will be completed late this month and then construction of the English site will begin. The English site will likely be completed in October.”
Among economy-related ministries, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy’s Web site was operating normally and was the most up-to-date on its foreign-language Web sites — not only for English but also for Chinese and Japanese, as of yesterday. English press releases lagged one day behind releases in Korean.
The English Web site of the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries was in operation, as of yesterday. Its overview and other contents all reflected changes made since the launch of the new administration.
The news update was slow, however, as a report that Seoul and Washington agreed on revised rules for American beef imports was put on the site on April 25, a week after the agreement was actually made.
The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs has been virtually stagnant since the reorganization. Though the ministry, which was formerly the Ministry of Construction and Transportation, uses its new title on the site, the latest news was a report released on Oct 16, 2007, as of yesterday.
The ministry’s site did not include contents of the former Maritime Affairs Ministry, which was merged into the new body.

[symoon@jooongang.co.kr]


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