[EDITORIALS]Press bill designed carefullyThe Uri Party has decided the standard for assessing the total market share rate of the newspaper industry as the rate of circulation of newspapers “nationally distributed.” We argued earlier that to include newspapers as “market controlling” companies under the fair trade law is unprecedented in the world. To put restrictions on the media is, in a way, to indirectly limit the choice of readers in selecting what they read. It is absolutely ridiculous that the government is attempting to limit, by law, the increase in circulation rates that are the byproduct of a good newspaper.
The governing party claims that the objective of the bill is to mold healthy public opinion, but look at the reality. Is it the Chosun Ilbo, JoongAng Ilbo and Dong A Ilbo that is damaging “healthy public opinion”? No one can deny that if these three papers did not exist, the public opinion of the nation would have difficulties in finding its direction.
Let’s assume that we do apply the fair trade law to the newspaper industry. The law states that to determine a “monopoly,” three major companies in one industry must have a combined market share of 75 percent or more. Then why does the new media bill state that the standard for determining monopoly should be 60 percent? The reason is that that is the combined market share of Chosun, JoongAng and Dong A Ilbo. It is also why the governing party has limited the market share calculations to dailies published in Seoul. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism has interpreted the total market share of the newspaper industry as including all dailies, such as economic, regional and sports newspapers. If we follow the ministry’s account, then the total market share of the three major newspapers is 44 percent. But the governing party is doing its best to make the three major newspapers’ combined market share reach 60 percent by excluding some dailies. It is planning to keep the management of the three companies under the watchful eye of the government by labeling them “monopolistic.” Why not just call the new bill, “Legislation to restrict Chosun, JoongAng and Dong A Ilbo”?
The international environment of the media world is changing rapidly. Through integration, transcending national barriers, the media outlets are expanding greatly. To cope with the change, we need new laws. Our future will be doomed, if we go against international trends and regulate the media.