Photo: Culture Minister Hwang Hee announced sanctions against the KABC
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism 문화관광부 announced on July 8 that the government will no longer rely on the reported circulation figures by Korea Audit Bureau of Circulations (KABC) ABC 협회, the trade group of newspapers that tabulated the official number of circulations for physical newspapers.
The government previously relied on the circulation figure collected by KABC to set the rate for government-sponsored advertisements and subsidies, worth nearly KRW 250b (USD 218m) each year. According to MCST’s investigation, KABC exaggerated circulation numbers by nearly double the actual amount, and showed no effort to take corrective action.
In the past two years, South Korea’s export of (physical) newspapers saw an 18-fold increase as the newspaper companies immediately sold off freshly printed newspapers. (See previous coverage, “Future of journalism is IKEA packing material”.)