Opening the media market

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Opening the media market

The restructuring of the media industry can finally take off now that the Constitutional Court has upheld the media reform law passed by the ruling party. The media industry has long stagnated under a thicket of obsolete and rigid regulations to serve the military governments of the past. Competitors hemorrhaged in a structure that severely restricted newcomers and new capital. But the gates have now been flung open, meaning that the industry needs to restructure itself in order to stay competitive in what promises to be an open environment.

Choi See-joong, chairman of the Korea Communications Commission, said his commission will neither rush nor draw out the process of awarding licenses for broadcasting under the new law, which allows corporate and print media capital to join the broadcasting market. Politicians are still wrangling over the legitimacy of the contentious law, which was railroaded by the ruling party.

But with the court ruling, they should no longer waste any time in mapping out supplementary provisions. There is no guarantee that politicians won’t be tempted to exploit the law for political purposes if the impasse drags on into next year, when local elections in June could disrupt the process. The restructuring of the media industry should no longer be a matter for political dispute. Although it may take some time for those in the media to adjust to the coming changes in the industry, they should respect its new structure, given the influence the new policy will have on public opinion.

Choi stressed that the primary guideline he will follow when awarding the new licenses to potential candidates is their potential for becoming a global media group. Most global media groups are owned by American capital. We see and hear world news through their lens. We take reports and analysis about our country by American journalists more seriously than our own.

We must create media content competitive enough for exchanges and ventures with leading members of the global media. The candidates with the determination, goals and potential should win. We are anticipating a fair and transparent licensing process.
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