South Korea

South Korea

Polarization and self-censorship

Relations were very tense between the media and the authorities under President Park Geun-hye. The government displayed a growing inability to tolerate criticism, and its meddling in the already polarized media threatened their independence. A defamation law providing for sentences of up to seven years in prison continues to be the main reason for self-censorship in the media. Nonetheless, the series of political scandals in 2016 that led to President Park’s impeachment and removal showed that the media are still able to cover politics effectively and to criticize the country’s institutions when they believe they no longer serve the general interest. The public debate about relations with North Korea, one of the main national issues, is hampered by a national security law under which any article or broadcast “favorable” to North Korea is punishable by imprisonment. This is one of the main grounds for online censorship.

in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index



70 in 2016

Global score


28.58 in 2016

  • 0
    journalists killed in 2018
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2018
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2018
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