Time running out for media

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Time running out for media

An amendment to the enforcement decree of the broadcasting act was approved by a cabinet meeting last Tuesday, finalizing the amendment procedure to the relevant act regarding newspaper-broadcaster cross-ownership.

The approval took place nearly six months after the media laws passed the National Assembly’s plenary session last June. As we have been finally unshackled by these last constraints, the task remaining before us now is to push ahead with follow-up measures.

The Korea Communications Commission has already launched a task force for the selection of business operators of new television channels.

We expect that fair and reasonable guidelines will be drawn up to select criteria for the committee of examiners and ensure that business operators that are globally competitive will be chosen. Time is also important. The commission’s Chairman Choi See-joong emphasized, “2010 will mark a huge victory for the media industry.” The global media market is undergoing turbulent changes with the appearance of global media firms through market openness and competition.

Last month, the Comcast Corporation, the largest U.S. cable operator, merged with NBC Universal. French President Nicolas Sarkozy is at the forefront of turning media conglomerates into competitive market players through deregulation. We have continued to lag far behind global trends with regards to the conversion to all-digital television broadcasting over the past four years due to strong resistance from broadcasting firms and the national union of media workers. In addition, the introduction of Internet Protocol television has been delayed for several years due to conflicts in business-to-business relationships. Such foot-dragging should not continue.

The National Assembly has tremendous responsibilities. The overhaul of the Korean media representative, which failed to meet the amendment deadline at the end of last year and thus has been ruled unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court, should be completed next month by the National Assembly.

It would be preferable to prevent a monopoly on TV commercial airtime sales and remove new regulations on new mediums.

Democratic Party Representatives Choi Moon-soon, Chun Jung-bae and Jang Se-hwan - who returned to the legislature after withdrawing their earlier resignations submitted in protest of the Grand National Party’s passage of the controversial media industry reform laws - should put their heads together to advance the media industry, rather than insisting on outdated black-and-white propaganda.
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