By Do Je-hae
Government ministries are apparently placing priority on a few major dailies for placing advertisements, a lawmaker said Monday.
Based on a report by the Korea Press Foundation, Rep. Jun Byung-hun of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) said that the Dong-a Ilbo, Chosun Ilbo and Joongang Ilbo each recorded a sizable increase in state advertisements in 2008, while papers such as the Hankyoreh and Kyunghyang Shinmun were excluded from lucrative advertising deals from the government.
In particular, Dong-a's state advertisements were worth almost 750 million won, a 432-percent increase from the previous year.
Chosun saw a 406-percent increase at almost 670 million won. Similarly, Joongang and Munhwa Ilbo each recorded a significant increase in their advertising revenues from government agencies.
Meanwhile, Kyunghyang and Hankyoreh, which tend to tilt toward anti-government reporting, only saw minimal government publicity. Hankyoreh recorded a 26.6-percent increase of 60 million won and Kyunghyang did only slightly better with a 38-percent rise.
The report found that government spent around 5.29 billion won on advertising in 2008, a 189.5 percent increase from the previous year.
Additionally, major dailies were printing 13 to 27 more state advertisements than the previous year, while Kyunghyang and Hankyoreh's advertisements actually decreased. Papers in provinces were also found to be suffering from the government's negligence.
The government's seeming favoritism of certain papers in advertising their enterprises may hinder the overall development of the Korean press, Jun noted.