Parties voice concerns over negative impacts of news portals

Apr 19, 2023, 08:16 am

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AsiaToday reporter Lee Jeong-yeon

Amid criticism that online platforms such as Naver are infringing on freedom of speech with their exclusive status, lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition parties as well as experts called for intensive regulations on online platforms. 

They agree that it is urgent to improve the system as the gigantic platforms’ monopoly of public opinion is causing various social ills such as social conflicts, repeated exposure of fake news, and destruction of the media ecosystem. 

Co-hosted by the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) Rep. Jong-min and the ruling People Power Party (PPP) Rep. Yoon Doo-hyun, a National Assembly policy discussion on portal news and press freedom was held at the National Assembly Library in Seoul on Tuesday. During the discussion, lawmakers and experts pointed out that portals are violating freedom of speech.

“Freedom of speech is the realization of constitutional values,” said Kim Wi-geun, chief research officer of PUBLISH. “If platform operators hinder freedom of speech, in-depth discussions are needed on how to regulate them,” Kim added.

Yoo Seung-hyun, an adjunct professor at Hanyang University’s Graduate School of Media and Information, pointed out the need for a ‘joint news portal of the press’ due to fragmentation of news consumption due to portal algorithms, opacity of algorithms, limitations of portal news regulations. “It will be an opportunity to change the monopoly of existing portals,” Yoo said. 

Lawmakers from the ruling and opposition parties who attended the forum also raised their voices on the ills caused by the portals. “Portals are turning a blind eye to the minimum duty as a good manager in product transactions but also in the news field,” Rep. Yoon said. “The decision-making is being made depending on public opinion formed in portal news,” Rep. Kim said. 

“Many measures are needed to protect portal regulations and media independence,” said Baek Hye-ryeon, chairman of the National Assembly’s Political Affairs Committee. “We will start discussions on the online platform act at the level of the National Assembly’s Political Affairs Committee.”

Meanwhile, the forum was attended by some 300 people, including AsiaToday CEO and Vice Chairman Woo Jong-soon, and AsiaToday Executive President Sun Sang-shin. 

#news portals #Naver 
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