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Broadcasting Deregulation in South Korea
Author: Ki-sung Kwak
Region: Asia
Location: Korea, South
Published July 25, 2009
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This paper examines the way in which new media technologies have compelled policymakers to adapt regulatory frameworks and to restructure television broadcasting in order to accommodate technological change in South Korea. It focuses on the policy tensions between highly centralized forms of media that focus on the mass audience and new media that not only fragment the audience but are also much harder to regulate. The Korean government’s policy toward emerging broadcast media has allowed both existing and new players to participate in and develop different types of delivery platforms such as cable, satellite, digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB), and Internet protocol television (IPTV).
This paper discusses how the introduction of new broadcast technology in Korea has provided an opportunity for existing terrestrial broadcasters to further strengthen their position by cautiously becoming involved in infrastructure while continuing to focus on their most important asset—programming that can be transmitted by any number of technical modalities. It also argues
that the perceptions and principles of television broadcasting long held by the state have altered signifi cantly during the government of Lee Myungbak. Unlike the previous governments’ media policies that emphasized the public responsibility of television broadcasting, the current government’s deregulation weighs in more on the side of the market economy.

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