Published : 2013-03-19 19:36
Updated : 2013-03-19 19:36
As the National Assembly is to pass the government reorganization bill today, President Park Geun-hye will be able to launch her pet ministry as planned. But it is questionable whether the new ministry, dubbed the Ministry of Future Creation and Science, will be able to play its expected role.
That is because the ministry will not be created in the form envisioned by the president. Its scope of business and power have been curtailed in the process of negotiations between the ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition Democratic United Party.
In Park’s blueprint, the new ministry was supposed to play a central role in building a creative economy ― an economy where technological innovations take place in a wide range of industries, generating jobs, giving birth to new industries and fueling economic growth.
To promote innovation, the ministry is supposed to accelerate the convergence of information-communication technology and make sure that ICT is applied to as broad a range of industrial sectors as possible.
As the ministry’s mission is to drive ICT convergence, Park’s scheme defines its scope of business broadly so that it covers all segments of ICT sectors, including broadcasting.
But this plan faced opposition from the DUP, which suspected it was an attempt to bring the politically influential broadcasting sector under the control of Park’s pet ministry.
The agreement announced by the two political parties on Sunday was the result of a compromise. On the surface, it respects Park’s demand that the ministry be allowed to play a key role in expediting the convergence of ICT and broadcasting to fuel innovation.
But a more careful look shows that the ministry’s room to maneuver has been seriously restricted. For instance, the agreement transfers the jurisdiction over new media, such as non-news cable channels, Internet TV, satellite TV and digital multimedia broadcasting, from the Korea Communications Commission to the new science ministry.
But the science ministry is required to win prior approval from the KCC when it seeks to revise the laws related to these broadcasting services. The ministry cannot even renew existing licenses or grant new ones on its own.
The agreement has also significantly restricted the new ministry’s power to manage radio frequency by allowing the KCC to take care of the spectrums set aside for broadcasters. Furthermore, it has given the power to allocate spectrums to a new commission to be installed under the Prime Minister’s Office.
At the moment, there is no way to make changes to the compromise reached between the political parties. Therefore, the only way for the new ministry to overcome many of the restrictions and live up to the expectations is to work in close cooperation with other ministries. For this, the new government should strive to demolish barriers and build bridges among ministries.