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Transformation of the media system under a neoliberal government (1998-2008) : introduction of pay TV and competition in South Korea

Son, Chang Yong (2012). Transformation of the media system under a neoliberal government (1998-2008) : introduction of pay TV and competition in South Korea. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University)


Recent shifts in the media landscape, brought about by political, economic and technological innovations, pose vital questions for media policy. This study sets out to locate these questions within the context of an examination of media developments in South Korea during a decade of intense change (1998-2008) when a neo-liberal government took office. The central concern is to document and shed light on the workings of the media system during a period that saw the introduction of several pay TV platforms by a government that questioned core elements of established media practices.

Media development and its politics context have drawn much academic interest in recent years. However, little attention has been given to media development within the neoliberal government of Korea. Drawing on historical context, the thesis examines the politics of stakeholders in the media market and challenges of media policy within the shifting media ecology. To this end, the thesis employed political economy and media policy study disciplines. These disciplines incorporate an extensive study of literature, observational experience and semi-structured interviews. The thesis perceives the media market in a social context, composing of the government, market and civil organisations, while rejecting technology determinism.

Three key findings are identified throughout this thesis. Firstly, with respect to media structure, the thesis has identified that the introduction of the pay TV platform has driven market competition, but social values such as pluralism are not guaranteed. Secondly, referring to media policy, this work has demonstrated that the government still maintains strong authority over the evolution of the media system. Despite proponents of the decline in government due to socio-political shifts as well as the globalisation trend, this work has proven that the government is a decisive agent not only in determining the media structure but also in the expansion of platforms. Meanwhile, the thesis also identified that the incumbent regulatory regime is under attack because of a widening gap between existing regulatory regimes and new services initiated by new technology. Finally, in terms of relationships between stakeholders in the media market, the work has demonstrated that public broadcasters have remained an influential player in the commercialised media market. It has been argued that the public broadcaster is in decline or demise because of shrinking funding sources, downsizing pressures and criticism of declining quality programming. However, the thesis has shown that the public broadcaster still retains its power in the commercial ecology. The thesis concludes that a healthy media market in a democratic society is constructed and sustained by a consistent media policy that balances public intervention and market principles.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
School of Policy & Global Affairs > School of Policy & Global Affairs Doctoral Theses
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