Tuesday, February 19, 2013

"Broadcasting" still contentious in the digital convergence era

When it comes to the relationship between government and the broadcasting industry, South Korea has a long history, much of it shaped under military governments that sought to tightly control the industry.  Those circumstances changed rather dramatically following the political liberalization that began in June of 1987.  However, broadcasting is still one of the most contentious public policy issues, even in this era of rapid digital convergence in which "broadcasting" is consumed via smartphones, tablets, IPTV and YouTube, to name just a few of the channels.
Consequently, I was not completely surprised to read in this morning's Joongang Daily, a report that the National Assembly remained deadlocked over President-elect Park Geun-hye's government restructuring plan.  It noted that "The two sides mainly disagree about Park’s plan to give her new ministry of future planning and science the role of promoting the broadcasting industry. As of now, the Korea Communications Commission is in charge of the job."  (Note:  The Joongang Daily used "Future planning and science, but the official English designation for the new ministry has not yet been released)
The crux of the problem is, of course, that the "creative economy" that President elect Park seeks to build will be created in a new digital environment or ecosystem in which broadcasting and telecommunications have long since converged.   People, especially those who grew up in the twentieth century mass media environment, will still think of television, or radio, but even today these are being consumed increasingly over internet connected and other digital devices.

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