The future of mediaWith the Korea Communications Commission’s Dec. 26 brief to the Blue House on the amendment of press-related acts, some press and broadcast labor unions have started strikes. However, the revision must not be viewed as something to protest. It is an inevitable change. The circumstances around the media have changed, such as the development of information and communication technology.
The structure of our media industry hasn’t significantly changed since its framework was devised by the despotic military regime in 1980 in order to control the press. Network broadcasters in particular have enjoyed a monopoly for nearly three decades. During that period, new technology has changed the world. There is no longer a clear distinction between broadcasting and communications. TV programs can be viewed not only on computer screens but also on mobile phones. On the Internet, countless video clips are shown in countries around the globe. Many governments of other nations have presented measures to foster the media industry. Large-scale media groups are competing to dominate the world market.
The revision of media-related acts is aimed at preventing us from falling behind the global trend, and it includes necessary regulations and institutions. The goal is to lift decades-old regulations in order to prepare a foundation for growth in the media industry. It will allow conglomerates that have the capacity to invest in the development of media technology, such as existing newspapers and communications companies, to enter the broadcasting industry, triggering competition. The revision of the press arbitration act is aimed at reducing the side effects that might arise as the media industry develops. It emphasizes the responsibility of Internet portals in protecting the rights of individuals.
It is imprudent for labor unions to fight the trend. It makes little sense to condemn the revision as a political conspiracy to suppress the press. If media workers who have enjoyed the benefits of a monopoly think they are the only ones who can protect freedom of speech, they are gravely mistaken. It is arrogant to believe that the entrance of other companies into the broadcasting industry will hinder democracy. Strikes staged for no good reason deserve to be condemned as collective selfishness.
Ending monopolies and introducing competition will diversify public opinion and develop the media industry. Labor unions must stop their strikes. Instead, they must go back to work and produce better programs.