More culture for low-income class

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More culture for low-income class

State funding for low-income families’ access to cultural programs will be significantly raised, and those who donate personally owned cultural properties to national museums will receive a tax deduction, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said Friday.

Reporting its key policy plans for 2011 to President Lee Myung-bak, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism presented a set of new cultural welfare programs to help boost cultural activities and bolster the industries of tourism, creative content, sports and media.

In a measure to promote the donation of historic relics, the government will introduce a tax deduction scheme for those who entrust their properties to national museums, based on their appraised values.

Also, welfare voucher schemes will be expanded for the low-income class.

Cultural voucher credit cards, a scheme to enable users to access cultural activities with state-given credit, will be provided to 1.63 million people, four times more than the number of this year’s beneficiaries.

The travel voucher scheme for low-income families will be expanded to 45,000 people from this year’s 11,000, and the amount of money they can spend annually with the card on domestic trips will be increased to 150,000 won ($130) from the current 100,000 won.

“The ministry will significantly increase welfare benefits for the underprivileged in their cultural, tourism and sports activities,” said First Vice Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Mo Chul-min.

“These plans were prepared in concert with the government’s agenda for next year to achieve a ‘Fair Society.’”

The life-long pension granted to Olympic silver and bronze medalists will be raised starting from the 2012 London Olympics, narrowing its gap with the money given to gold medalists.

Those who win an Olympic silver or bronze currently receive 400,000 won and 300,000 won a month, respectively, but the grants will be increased to 750,000 won and 500,000 won, while the 1 million won pension for gold medalists won’t be changed.

To enhance media transparency and credibility, the government will conduct research on print circulation, readership, and online and mobile activities, and release the results to the public.

In response to rising concerns regarding online journalism, the government will encourage Internet news organizations to establish a code of ethics and create an audit body to ensure their accuracy and credibility in news reporting.

To curb online game addiction among teenagers, the government initiated a new law that will prohibit those who are younger than 16 from using Internet games from midnight to 6 a.m.

The ministry said it will also build research and equipment facilities to further boost the Korean Wave, or the popularity of Korean pop culture abroad.

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