‘Public Networks, not Dailies, Threaten Press Diversity’

    May 13, 2008 09:37

    An academic has called for safety mechanisms to prevent the monolithic public terrestrial networks from dominating the media market once the government lifts a ban on combined or cross-ownership of newspapers and TV stations. Prof. Moon Jae-wan of Hankook University of Foreign Studies’ College of Law, made the demand on Monday in a paper considering the impact of liberalization on the diversity of the press.

    "Our broadcast industry has a deformed structure in which the state monopolizes broadcasting, with publicly-owned KBS and MBC accounting for 77 percent of sales," Moon says in the paper. "For the state to create a monopoly structure and then guarantee its commercial benefit to their staff in the name of combined management runs counter to the principle of equality."

    Moon gives short shrift to enemies of liberalization who see the danger instead in newspaper publishers becoming monopolistic if they were to manage broadcasters as well. "Broadcasters, mobilizing video and sound, exercise much greater influence than newspapers in conveying the same information. Therefore it is meaningless to review their influence by simple comparison, and at present, the threat of a press monopoly or oligopoly by broadcasters is more serious than one by newspapers," he writes.

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