Free the media

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Free the media

The Grand National Party’s proposed legislation aimed at revising the current media regulatory laws represents a positive policy direction given the changes in the industry.

The legislation is focused on easing regulations in the media industry and beefing up the sector’s competitiveness. It is also a step in the right direction as far as taking the country’s media industry closer to global standards, by allowing newspaper companies and local conglomerates to explore the local television industry.

The current laws have hampered the development of all-news cable channels and prevented companies from expanding investments in new content businesses, which are crucial in creating a global media group.

Korea is the only OECD member country that completely bans the cross-ownership of newspapers and broadcast companies. The country’s past military regime committed the unconstitutional act of merging the local press groups and created laws that tightened its grip on the media.

But now, we can stamp out the fallout from such shameful actions.

Cross-ownership is an essential business platform in maximizing the operational synergy of the media industry, allowing a company to provide information in various platforms. This “one-source, multi-use” business strategy is fundamental in the information age. The new legislation carries significant meaning in our media industry, as it allows big companies to invest more in the broadcast sector and eventually create a global, internationally competitive media group.

The current broadcasting stations should take the upcoming changes as an opportunity to overhaul their own operations and upgrade their capabilities, rather than thinking of the situation as an insurmountable challenge. They should distance themselves from the past, when they sought to stay within their comfortable market monopoly.

We also expect the opposition parties to take a more cooperative stance in order to create more constructive and future-oriented policy directions.

Korea’s communications industry is already a few steps behind its counterparts in other advanced countries, meaning it has to work faster to ease regulations and offer more support to new industry players.

For instance, the latest legislation prevents newspapers and conglomerates from owning more than a 20 percent stake in a broadcasting company, but lawmakers may have to think about further easing the limit.

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