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Park cautions against broadcasting monopolies

President Park Geun-hye ordered broadcasting regulators Monday to ensure that the industry won’t fall into the hands of a handful of conglomerates, saying diversity and fairness are key to revitalizing the broadcasting sector.

Park issued the instruction during a joint policy briefing by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning and the Korea Communications Commission.

She said the broadcasting industry strongly influences the economy and is directly related to people’s everyday lives.

“Conglomerates, which have gotten into the broadcasting market, have been enlarging their influence, including increasing their broadcasting channels, recently. In the course of that, it is feared that small and medium-sized players will lose their presence and the broadcasting diversity will be hurt,” Park said.

She called for a careful handling of the issue to ensure against monopolies.

Park also renewed her long-standing calls for sweeping deregulations to help realize her “creative economy” vision that calls for boosting the economy by creating new business opportunities, industries and jobs through the fusion of information and communication technology, culture and other realms.

In a policy plan briefing the science ministry said that it will nurture key strategic industries and establish cooperative ties between conglomerates and smaller firms to reap shared growth in those sectors.

The ministry it will increase support for 13 strategic industries such as the fifth-generation mobile network, undersea marine plants, and other cutting-edge devices like robots.

A joint commission of representatives from the public and private sectors will draw up detailed plans within the first half of this year, the ministry said.

The government will also enlarge investment in what it called “creative economy vitamin projects,” which seek to promote integration of information technology with conventional industries such as agriculture and tourism. The ministry said it will inject some 100 billion won ($94 million) in 30 vitamin projects, an increase from 20 billion won invested last year.

The projects are named after one of the Park administration’s centerpiece policies, the “creative economy,” that seeks new and inventive business opportunities and more jobs through the fusion of information technology and other industries.

In the bid to boost sustainable growth, the ministry said it will foster new industries, such as the “Internet of Everything,” which refers to a fully connected world where everything is online.

The ministry estimates that the market for the IoE, which came to 2.3 trillion won in 2013, will expand to 4.8 trillion won in 2016.

It will also continue to foster start-ups in 2014, including providing young job seekers with an opportunity to work at venture firms for first-hand experience in launching a business.

Start-ups that lack an overseas marketing network can receive assistance from the ministry, which will provide legal and accounting services to tap strategic markets in Southeast Asia and East Europe.

For companies targeting the local market, the ministry will establish two one-stop business support centers this year, one in the central city of Daejeon and the other in the southeastern city of Daegu, and gradually expand their number throughout the nation in the second half of the year.

The one-stop centers will arrange meetings between start-ups and investors, and utilize human resources and ideas in the regions.

The ministry will also promote the software industry by establishing a task force to increase its sales to 100 trillion won by 2017, compared to the 48 trillion won posted in 2012.

Under such measures, the ministry said South Korea’s outbound shipments of information and communication technology goods, which came to $169.4 billion in 2013, will rise to $200 billion by 2016.

Last week, a special law also went into effect that creates a new commission to oversee the country’s policies on the information, communication and technology sectors.

The new commission will seek feedback from local firms on problems they experience in business activities and have them reflected in the country’s policies. (Yonhap)