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The Peninsula

An Adversarial Media? Or Bad Public Policy?

Published January 24, 2020
Author: Korea View

This briefing comes from Korea View, a weekly newsletter published by the Korea Economic Institute. Korea View aims to cover developments that reveal trends on the Korean Peninsula but receive little attention in the United States. If you would like to sign up, please find the online form here.

What Happened

  • President Moon Jae-in placed emphasis on stabilizing the real estate market in his New Year’s press conference. He stressed the importance of the media’s cooperation in policy implementation.
  • The government is hinting that it will reintroduce permitting requirements for putting a property on the market – a controversial policy that was briefly tabled under the Roh Moo-hyun administration.
  • Despite the government’s appeal, the media is pushing back against the policy proposal.

Implications: President Moon’s call for media cooperation betrays the administration’s suspicion that many progressive policies have failed because of negative coverage by an adversarial press. This implicit suggestion also justifies the incumbent administration’s reintroduction of a policy that was withdrawn by a previous government. But with or without a supportive media narrative, the log record of successive administrations failing to stabilize real estate prices will significantly shape the public’s outlook on the government’s capacity to curb the current economic realities.

Context: The proposed “selling permit system” requires prospective home sellers to first receive government approval before their properties could be listed on the market. During the Roh Moo-hyun administration, the government considered the policy but faced severe media backlash. Most mainstream newspapers argued that excessive government intervention in the market would further destabilize real estate prices. The criticism eventually led the government to indefinitely postpone the policy’s implementation.

Korea View was edited by Yong Kwon with the help of Gordon Henning, Soojin Hwang, Hyungim Jang, and Ingyeong Park.

Picture from user Chris Harber on Flickr

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