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Newspaper and News Agencies

The first edition of the Dongnipsinmun, [The Independent]. Launched on April 7, 1896, it was Korea's first privately-owned all-Hangeul newspaper
The first edition of the Dongnipsinmun, [The Independent]. Launched on April 7, 1896, it was Korea's first privately-owned all-Hangeul newspaper
The Korean press is now well over a century old. Korea's first modern newspaper, the Dongnip Sinmun (Independence Newspaper), was established in 1896 by Dr. Seo Jae-pil. The Dongnip Sinmum was a bilingual paper with 300 copies of four tabloid pages printed three times a week, the first three pages in Korean and the last page in English.

Over the following decades, Korean newspapers found their greatest challenge in upholding the nationalistic spirit of the Korean people and opening their eyes to the rapidly changing world. The newspapers played an important role in independence movements during the Japanese colonial regime (1910-1945).

The Chosun Ilbo and the Dong-A Ilbo are the two oldest newspapers in Korea, both inaugurated in 1920 in the wake of the March First Independence Movement. Both newspapers are known for their independent editorial policies and considerable influence on public opinion. This spirit persisted through the establishment of the Republic of Korea in 1948. With broad leeway to criticize officialdom, newspapers have always been at the forefront of leading social changes.

Korean newspapers have made significant investments in modern press facilities and equipment in recent years. Most national dailies operate computerized typesetting and editing systems with multicolor printing capability.

There are two major news agencies in Korea, Yonhap News and Newsis. With an extensive news-gathering network in the capital city and provinces, Yonhap News also maintains 23 overseas bureaus in Europe, North America, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and South America. And Newsis, which was registered in 2001, has provided news services since June 2002.


TV home networking demonstration
TV home networking demonstration
Television broadcasting in the Republic of Korea began in 1956 with the opening of a privately-owned and commercially operated station in Seoul. This first TV station, however, was destroyed by fire in 1959.   

In December 1961, KBS-TV was inaugurated by the government as the first full-scale television service in Korea. Another broadcast firm, TBC-TV, began operation in December 1964. The Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation established Korea's third television station, MBC-TV, in August 1969. During a period of media mergers in the late 1980s, TBC-TV was taken over by KBS and renamed as KBS-2.

EBS (the Educational Broadcasting System), under the supervision of the Ministry of Education, started broadcasting in 1990. EBS broadcasts extracurricular educational programs for students and also cultural programs and documentaries. EBS became a public corporation under the new Broadcasting Law in June 2000.

SBS (the Seoul Broadcasting System) began broadcasting under private management in 1990. The first privately-operated local stations ― PSB (Busan Broadcasting Corp.), TBC (Daegu Broadcasting Corp.), KBC (Gwangju Broadcasting Company) and TJB (Daejeon Broadcasting Corp.) ― were established in 1995 to promote local culture and spur regional development. A second group of privately-operated local stations ― iTV (Incheon Television Corp.), UBC (Ulsan Broadcasting Corp.), CJB (Cheongju Broadcasting Corp.) and JTV (Jeonju Television Corp.) ― began operating in 1997. Some of the broadcasters have discontinued their operations, while others have been renamed.

Korea Multimedia phone: LG Electronics' mobile phone with a DMB [Direct Multimedia Broadcasting] function
Korea Multimedia phone: LG Electronics' mobile phone with a DMB [Direct Multimedia Broadcasting] function
Additionally, Gangwon Television Broadcasting (GTB) and Jeju Free International City Broadcasting System (JIBS) started broadcasting services in 2001 and 2002, respectively.
The KBS, MBC, SBS and EBS television networks launched digital broadcasting in the Seoul metropolitan area in the latter half of 2001. The service was expanded to the greater Seoul and surrounding areas in 2002.

Cable TV was first introduced in Korea in 1970. It was popular mainly among those who could not enjoy good TV reception due to geographical conditions or man-made structures.
However, since the late 1980s, as public demand for more information and a greater variety of entertainment increased, demand for cable TV has also been on the increase.

Cable TV started experimental services in 1990. As of the end of 2005, 14.0 million subscribers were able to view about 70 cable channels broadcasting programs for 77 subject areas.
Korea has put three telecommunications satellites ―  Mugunghwa Nos. 1, 2, 3 ― into orbit since 1995 and secured 168 satellite channels to broadcast programs in such diverse areas as sports, music, education and entertainment. Korea Digital Broadcasting (KDB) launched a satellite broadcasting service in March 2002, and as of the end of 2004, it was providing diverse channel services to about 1.65 million subscribers. The satellites also paved the way for Korea to become one of the leading nations in information technology.


Studio of Bae Chul-soo's Music Camp, MBC's pop music program
Studio of Bae Chul-soo's Music Camp, MBC's pop music program
Radio broadcasting in Korea started in 1927, when the Japanese government established a station in Seoul. The U.S. military government in Korea subsequently took it over and later formed the Korea Broadcasting System (KBS).

This was the only radio station in the country until 1954, when the Christian Broadcasting System (CBS), operated chiefly with contributions from churches, started educational and religious programming along with news and entertainment broadcasts.

In December 1956, another Christian organization, the Evangelical Alliance Mission, inaugurated the Far East Broadcasting Station in Incheon, and the first commercial radio enterprise in Korea, the Busan Munhwa Broadcasting Station, was established in Busan in April, 1959. The founding of several private broadcasting companies followed. MBC (Munhwa Broadcasting Company) began operations in December 1961 with the call sign KLKV, followed by two rivals, DBS (Dong-A Broadcasting Station) in 1963 and TBC (Dongyang Broadcasting Company) in 1964.

Another wave of change took place in 1990 with the establishment of a number of specialized broadcasting stations.

Korea's global English-language cable network Arirang TV
Korea's global English-language cable network Arirang TV
The Seoul city-operated TBS (Traffic Broadcasting Station) was set up in June, 1990, followed by the government-operated EBS (Educational Broadcasting Station). Pyeonghwa Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) for Catholics

The Seoul city-operated TBS (Traffic Broadcasting Station) was set up in June, 1990, followed by the government-operated EBS (Educational Broadcasting Station). Pyeonghwa Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) for Catholics and the Buddhist Broadcasting System (BBS) were also established in 1990.

In March 1991, the privately-owned Seoul Radio Station began broadcasting to a target audience among the Seoul Metropolitan area and its vicinity, while five other privately-owned local FM radio channels opened in 1997.

There are presently a total of 202 radio broadcasters in the Republic of Korea; 153 FM, 47 AM, and two shortwave services for Koreans overseas. Despite the increasing popularity of television, radio still has an expanding audience in Korea.


  General Information of Korea  
   Facts and Figures of Korea
· Country Name : Republic of Korea · Capital City : Seoul (10.1 million) · National flag : Taegeukgi · National flower : Mugunghwa (Rose of Sharon) · Currency : won · Language : Korean (Written form: Hangeul) · Location : Strategically located at the crossroads of …
Korea is situated on the Korean Peninsula, which spans 1,100 kilometers north to south. The Korean Peninsula lies on the northeastern section of the Asian continent, where Korean waters are joined by the western-most parts of the Pacific. The peninsula shares its northern border with China and Russia. To the east is the East Sea, beyond which neighboring Japan lies. To the west is the Yellow Sea. In addition to the mainland, Korea includes some 3,200 i…
Korea has four distinct seasons. Spring and autumn are rather short, summer is hot and humid, and winter is cold and dry with abundant snowfall, especially in the mountainous regions, but not along the southern coast. Temperatures differ widely from region to region within Korea, with the average being between 6°C (43°F) and 16°C (61°F). In early spring, Siberian winds pick up "yellow dust" from thawin…
As of the end of 2007, South Korea's total population was estimated to be 48,456,369 with a density of 498 people per square kilometer. The population of North Korea was estimated to be 23,200,238. Korea saw its population grow by an annual rate of 3 percent during the 1960s, but growth slowed to 2 percent over the next decade. In 2005, the rate stood at 0.21 percent and is expected to further decline to 0.02 percent by 2020. In the 19…
All Koreans speak and write the same language, which has been a decisive factor in forging their strong national identity. Korean has several different dialects in addition to the standard variety used in Seoul. Only the dialect of Jeju-do Province, however, is so different that it is difficult for others to understand. Linguistic and ethnological studies have classified the Korean language in the Altaic language family, which includes the T…
   National Symbols
National Flag The Korean flag is called Taegeukgi. Its design symbolizes the principles of the yin and yang in Asian philosophy. The circle in the center of the flag is divided into two equal parts. The upper red section represents the proactive cosmic forces of the yang. Conversely, the lower blue section represents the responsive cosmic forces of the yin. The two forces embody the concepts of continual movement, balance, and harmony that characteriz…

manuscript of the first Constitution of the Republic of Korea On July 17, 1948, the first Constitution of the Republic of Korea was adopted. As the nation underwent political upheavals in pursuit of democratic development, the Korean Constitution has been amended nine times, the last time on October 29, 1987. The current Constitution represents a major advancement in the direction of full democratization. Apart from a legitimate process of revision, a number of substantive changes are notable. They include the curtailment of presidential powers, the strengthening of the power of the legi…

   Executive Branch
The President Cheongwadae (Office of the President) The President of the Republic of Korea, elected by nationwide, equal, direct and secret ballot, stands at the apex of the executive branch. The President serves a single five-year term, with no additional terms being allowed. This single-term provision is a safeguard for preventing any individual from holding the reins of government power for a protracted period of time. In the event of…

The National Assembly Legislative power is vested in the National Assembly, a unicameral legislature. The Assembly is composed of 299 members serving four-year terms. Out of 299 members, 245 are elected by popular vote from local constituencies, while the remaining 54 members obtain their seats through a proportional representation system in which seats are allocated to each political party that has gained 3 percent or more of all valid votes or five or more seats in the local constituency election. The system is aimed at reflecting the voices of people from different walks of life whil…


The Supreme Court The Judiciary of Korea consists of the Supreme Court, High Courts, District Courts, Patent Court, Family Court, Administrative and Local Courts. The courts exercise jurisdiction over civil, criminal, administrative, electoral, and other judicial matters, while also overseeing affairs related to real estate registrations, family registrations, financial holdings, and court officials. The Supreme Court is the highest judicial tribunal. It hears appeals on cases rendered by lower courts. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is appointed by the President with the consent …

   Independent Organizations
The Constitutional Court The Constitutional Court The Constitutional Court was established in September 1988 as a key part of the constitutional system. The Constitution of the Sixth Republic, based on the Korean people's deep enthusiasm for democracy, adopted a new judicial review system ― the Constitutional Court ― to safeguard the Constitution and to protect the people's basic rights by establishing special procedures for …
   Local Government
Seoul Plaza in front of City Hall The Constitution of the Republic of Korea states in Article 117 that "Local governments deal with matters pertaining to the welfare of local residents, manage properties and may, within the limit of laws, enact provisions relating to local autonomy regulations." Local government heads manage and supervise administrative affairs except as otherwise provided by law. The local…
   Organization Chart
Korean Government Organization Chart

The President is the head of state and represents the state in international affairs. The President is also the head of the executive branch, and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. In case of the President's death or disability, the Prime Minister will temporarily act as the President according to an order of succession provided by law. The President is elected for a single five-year term by popular vote through universal, equal, direct, secret balloting. The power and duties of the President are defined in the following six areas. First, the President, as head of state…

   Presidents of the ROK
Presidents of the ROK 1st, 2nd and 3rd President (1948 - 1960) 4th President (1960 - 1962) 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th President (1963 - 1979) 10th President (1979 - 1980) Chun Doo-hwan 11th, 12th President (1980 - 1988) Roh Tae-woo 13th President (1988 - 1993) Kim Young-sam 14th Pr…
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