The Press and Democracy in South Korea - A Survey of Print Journalists’ Opinions -

  •  Eun Suk SA    


The media are highly involved in the development or limitation of democracy. In South Korea (hereafter Korea) the history of the media companies has been about allying themselves with political power through partnerships under authoritarian rule. Some of these companies are still strong and influential groups as cultural producers in Korean society. Press freedom without social responsibility by major conservative newspapers has led to a conflicted society and a threat to grassroots democracy in Korea today. This paper explores journalists’ responses to four main issues regarding the press environment and democracy in Korea. There are some differences in ideas about the press environment and democracy between actual practice and the journalists’ perspectives. These differences may come from the lack of media practitioners’ views regarding ethics of journalism, discrepancies in Korean democracy such as the strong influence of clientelism, the limitation of traditional media as a mechanism of two-way communication, and the idealistic thinking of journalists.

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