&#91EDITORIALS&#93Fiddling away the airwaves

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&#91EDITORIALS&#93Fiddling away the airwaves

We are shocked at a report that an agreement on broadcasting service signed during the Uruguay Round negotiations in 1994 is deeply flawed due to sheer ignorance and mistakes on the part of the Korean government. Although it does not mean that overseas broadcasters will rush into the Korean market right away, there is no excuse we can make if there are demands for participation in satellite broadcasting and for establishment of advertising agencies like the Korea Broad-casting Advertising Corporation.
What makes it even more serious is that Korean law and administrative practices on broadcasting are contradictory to the agreement Korea has signed. Thus the agreement will create the contradiction of Korean broadcasters being discriminated against in satellite broadcasting inside Korea. It also endangers Korea’s argument that it has to maintain a quota system because of the Korean public’s interest in Korean cinema, despite international pressure to open the motion-picture market.
The reason things have come to this pass is the slipshod attitude of Korean officials at the Uruguay Round negotiations. At the same negotiations, the Japanese succeeded in limiting the sale of overseas satellite broadcasts in the Japanese market, while Korean negotiators succeeded only in limiting sales of cable television broadcasts in Korea. This shows how ill prepared for the future Korean officials were. Even more absurd, they bungled their negotiations. Instead of securing a clause stipulating the opening of production and supply of network television advertisements, they signed an article allowing opening of a broader spectrum of program production and supply. The government had hushed up the mistake till Mexico requested additional market opening at the end of last year.
In international negotiations, it is impossible to cancel what was signed. Therefore, the government should prepare measures necessary for domestic broadcasters to survive. And it should also prepare for the forthcoming World Trade Organization negotiations on broadcasting service without repeating mistakes of nine years ago.
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