[EDITORIALS]Revise clause in media regulationThe Ministry of Culture and Tourism has announced a draft revision to the implementation regulation of the Registration of Periodicals Act.
When the law was passed by the Assembly, we warned that it could damage the autonomy of the press and pointed out that the implementation rule should be made in a proper way. However, the “coordinated draft revision” includes clauses that are rather detrimental to the spirit of the press.
The lifeline of the press is freedom of expression. And it is self-regulation that makes freedom bloom. If newspapers perform their duty of informing the public, autonomy ― the utmost value ― should be protected. If newspapers lose that right, they could further be unfairly controlled by those in power.
The coordinated draft stipulates that the editing committee shall be composed of members who represent the management and those who represent media workers engaged in newspaper production.
And the members who represent media workers must be elected by secret ballot. If the editing committee supports fair and balanced newspapers, it is natural that newspapers should have control over their own content. Why is the government intervening with a regulation? Newspapers have a right to control their own editing. Therefore, it is hard to understand why the concept of labor-management should be introduced.
It seems to be an intention to bind newspaper companies with money in the “newspaper development fund.” It stipulates that the fund will be distributed to companies that organize the editing committee and provide an operating regulation.
It is no different from forcing papers to make the committee and the regulation using the fund as a decoy. If the committee is of such a nature, the autonomy of the press will be lost. Although there were calls that the clause should be omitted or simplified, the ministry has revised it in a way that could damage self-regulation of the press.
If the autonomy of the press is in doubt, there is no future for our press. The ability to compete with world’s leading media outlets will be lost. The clause related to the composition of the editing committee should be revised.