[EDITORIALS]Newspaper Act revision dueThe Culture Ministry decided to allow CBSi, a subsidiary of CBS, to publish a free daily newspaper. CBS requested an authoritative interpretation regarding the publication of a free daily. The Culture Ministry replied, “The CBS subsidiary may own a company that issues a free paper, unless the amount of its stock exceeds the legal limit of 50 percent.” This decision has created opposition. The Korean Association of Newspapers and the National Union of Media Workers expressed their displeasure. The current Newspaper Act allows a heavy stockholder of a broadcasting company to own up to 50 percent of a newspaper company’s stock. However, the law governing broadcasting bans a newspaper company from owning a single unit of stock in a broadcasting company.
This administration has been friendly to the broadcasting companies yet is squeezing a critical newspaper by all means possible. Now, the administration is openly allowing a broadcasting company to publish a newspaper, while placing a ban on the newspapers from managing broadcasting stations. This is evidence that the law and the policies are losing their balance between media. It is obvious discrimination against newspapers.
In the meantime, we have claimed several times that combined management of newspapers and broadcasting must be allowed. Among the 30 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Korea is the only nation that bans the combined management of newspapers and broadcasting. Besides, it is now a worldwide trend to see convergence among newspapers, broadcasting and the Internet, due to the development of media technology and rapid changes on the information superhighway. Media is an industry, therefore it needs to have competitive power internationally. For that to happen, it is necessary to permit the combined management of newspapers and broadcasting.
Therefore, the government must postpone the launch of the free daily paper of CBS until the revision of the Newspaper Act, as the launch may blemish the newspaper distribution order. Prior to that, it is only natural to revise the Newspaper Act to allow the combined management of newspapers and broadcasting.