[EDITORIALS]A better media neededThe Grand National Party presented a five-point reform proposal for the broadcasting sector, including abolishing laws that prohibit a newspaper business from sidetrading in broadcasting and vice versa. Although the proposal is still in the party’s debate stage, the chances of revision are high because the GNP occupies a majority of seats in the National Assembly.
In a world where the integration of different media is active, and fast digitalization is a trend, the media industry in Korea is a stalemate, suppressed by an old-fashioned legal system. Although the media environment has changed, the media industry in Korea is bound by old regulations losing competitiveness. Despite that, the public broadcasting stations KBS and MBC are obsessed with audience ratings. Betraying the public interest, they produce low-quality programs and biased broadcast reports. Without fixing the damaged fundamentals of the broadcasting industry, it will be difficult for Korea to make a leap forward to become a country with a strong media industry.
We welcome the move, although it is made by the opposition, to revise broadcast laws this year. Because the proposal is still a draft, there are points unfinished and ones that need to be amended. But they can be improved in the course of debate.
The reality is regulations have lost their meaning due to rapid technological developments, and thus the revised law must reflect reality. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has already relaxed its regulations on media ownership. Abolishing regulations for broadcasting is a world trend now. Korea’s prohibition of sidetrading in newspapers, broadcasting and news agencies should be ceased. Public broadcasting stations, MBC and KBS-TV2, should be privatized, because they have lost their identities as public broadcasters. Abolishing subscription fees should be reconsidered, because that is directly related to the independence of the public broadcaster. The revision must be made in a future-oriented manner, with the participation of experts and people from related industries.