EAST ASIA REVIEW

Created: 7/15/1980

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

South Korea: Information Control

Army strongman Chun Doo Hwan has embarked on a. multifaceted program ofinforaation

Background of Media Control

Control of information networks hasore or less constant feature of Korean political life for decades. Strict government control of the press was practiced by the Japanese during the annexation period. Under the Syngman Rhee and Park Chung Bee regimes the press had toarrow line to avoid cither outright closure or indirect means of control such as threats of violence or economic pressure. Nevertheless, journalists often were able to express their dissent by nuance and xn the ubiquitous gossip columns carried by all major papers

Objective: To Win Public Support

There are few obvious signs that the media are under heavy censorship. The newspapers retain the same familiar makeup and format, and political cartoons still appear, although they are more bland than before. Articles about political factions, dissent, and National Assembly bickering, however, are missing in the dailies. On balance the tone appears to be more positive, with emphasis on 'purifying" corrupt elements, obtaining for-oign loans, and cementing USSouth Korean

The press is also being used to favorably portray the military and its policies. In early June, for example, all of Seoul's newspapers carried lengthyof support for the-newly created Special Committee for National Security Measures (SCNSMV. The statements'

irgued that student

rstrile, .and the Kwangju incident had hurt the economy and endangered national security and that it was necessary for the government' to extend martial law and to form the SCNSM. The statements also hailed

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the "wise decisions" of the government in copingcrisis and welcomed government efforts toleadership andr- totalurjlfl

External Information Sources Blocked

South Koreans frequently have turned to foreign newspapers and periodicals. North Korean radiobroadcasts, and Japanese television programs to supplement internal information sources. To close this gap, all foreign publications now are reviewed before they aro released to the distributors, and offensive articles are removed or blacked out. The MLC also censors foreign press agency material before passlag .it on to the newspapers and broadcasting stations.

North Koroan radiobroadcasts and broadcasts of the clandestine "Voice of the Revolutionary Party forare heard in many parts of South Korea; during the Kwangju incident many South Koreans turned to these broadcasts as an alternate source of To counter this the military has threatened severe punishment for persons caught listening to Radio Pyongyang and other North Korean stations. Fear of being caught listening to suchbeing accused of being adiscouraged any widespread audience for the Pyongyang broadcasts, and the generally strident tone and blatant propaganda of most North Korean fare probably also help to keep listenerahip low.

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Residents of Pucan and other areas along the southernthe help of speciallong enjoyed Japanese television programing. Many Koreans, particularly the older generations, understand Japanese, <io Japanese TVignificant role as an alternate source of information. For several days during the Kwangju incident, Japanese television, was one of the few reliable sour.-es of ^ftfflflofr |

Cowing the Foreign itbbe

The military authorities have been attempting to silence foreign journalists or to punish them forstories. The primary objective lr. to prevent the dissemination abroad of potentially embarrassing information, but there also is concern that suchcould find its way back, to South Korea or to North Korea, which uses it in itsouth Korean propaganda. Japanese press agencies and newspapers have been singled but forKorean offices of the Kyodo News Agency, the Asahi Shimbun, and the Jiji News Agency have been closed on charges of improper reporting, and some foreign journalists reportedly have found it. ficult to obtain visas for South Korea.

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Potentia^EffecUvenesjwif

i bcuatints and dissidents witn accessoTei^nerB, nowever, will be able to circumvent the restrictions, and underground newspapers are likely to appear. Even so, such informal, small-scale operations willimited audience, students will continue to attempt to disseminate information thrc^ujah^eanetr.. but

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The appearanceormal press willooth-ing effect on much of the populace. Even if there are minor disturbances in the form of antigovernmentor rallies, the media probably will either ignore them or play themactic that Parkemployed. Media treatment of the Kwangju incident appears to have convinced large segments of theof the correctness of the government's measures and

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of the need for total martial law. Many members of the middle and lower classes already appear to be convinced

1 ^f "' llllM 11 mmamm

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An important test of the effectiveness of the information-control measures will come with the unveiling of the new draft constitution later this summer. One canoncentrated media campaign extolling theof tbe new document, complete with ringingfrom prominent business, social, and government Ifaders. re not likely to be aired.

CHRONOLOGY: NORTH KOREA

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une

une

North Korean Army delegation ledice minister of defense returnshree-week trip to China. While in China, the delegation is received by Chinese leader Hua Guofeng.

North Korea, implicitly sidingugoslav effort to have the Third World condemn the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, calls on the nonaligned movement to convene an early meeting of foreign ministers. North Korean Foreign Minister Ho Tarn alsoetter to NAM foreign ministers criticizing the military crackdown in South Korea and US support for the Seoul regime.

vice President Fak Song-cholovernment delegation to Madagascar to mark five years of rule by Head of Government Ratsiraka.

June

Ambassador Lu Zhixian returns to Pyongyangeven-week absence. -

June

South Korean Navyman North Korean agent boat off the west coast and picks up one survivor. Authorities in Seoul announce that North Korean planes and ships were placed on alert in reaction to the incident but avoided contact with South Korean forces.

une

Korea announces that NAM's working group on Korea met onune in New York andesolution critical of the situation in South Korea*

June

representatives .from North and South Korea meet for the ninth time at Panmunjom. South^ Korealight change in its proposed agenda and calls for an early meeting at the prime ministerial level, but North Korea agrees only to another preliminary session onugust. The chief North Korean delegate fails to attend,health problem."

Jun^

Korea routinely marksh anniversary of the Korean war with anti-US rallies in Pyongyang and the provinces.

June

Military Armistice Commission holdsnd meeting at Panmunjom at the request of the UN Command, which protests the infiltrationonune; North Korea denies any involvement.

June

une

national conference of consumer industry workers convenes in Pyongyang Kim ll-song calls on local authorities to continue to increase production of consumer goods and to improve their quality, using existing production capacity.

A North Korean civilian defects by walking across the Demilitarized Zone in the western sector.:

July

ll-songisiting Chinese television and broadcasting group.

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2 July

3 July

4 July

ong attends the opening ceremony of the Mirim sluice gate on the Taedong Riverortheast suburb of Pyongyang.

North Korea publishes slogans marking the Sixth Congress of the Korean Workers Party, scheduled for The slogans, which servereview of the policy lines to be adopted at the Congress, follow the thrust of those issued5 for theh anniversary celebration.

Pyongyang cityally today" production campaign to prepare for the sixth Congress.

SECRET

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