KBS joins the Public Media Alliance

2nd March 2023
PMA is excited to announce that the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) is the latest public media organisation to join our global association.  
The KBS logo on the side of its HQ building.
KBS is the main public broadcaster for South Korea. Credit: KBS

The Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) has agreed to become a member of the Public Media Alliance. KBS is South Korea’s largest public service broadcaster (PSB), offering enormous public service value through its provision of multi-platform entertainment, information, and education content for South Korean audiences.  

The Public Media Alliance (PMA) is an association of public media organisations from across six continents. We advocate for the principles and values that underpin public service media. 

Read more: Czech TV joins the Public Media Alliance

Who is KBS?

KBS’ roots date back to 1927, when the Kyeongseong Broadcasting Corporation was founded, and broadcast the first radio programmes in Korea. It became a fully-fledged public broadcaster in 1973 when it was re-designated as the Korean Broadcasting System.  

The broadcaster has been a constant innovator and pioneer in new technologies. It operates four DMB channels. In 2017, it broadcast a UHD programme on a terrestrial network – a world first. Its election coverage continues to push boundaries, using “cutting edge technology” such as the metaverse to improve its offering to audiences in 2022. 

But this ambition and innovation has not detracted from the central tenets of its role as a public broadcaster, as it continues to be trusted and accessible for audiences. It was rated the first media news organisation for reach and third for trust in South Korea in the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism’s Digital News Report, while it was ranked the most trusted news media in SisaIN’s survey of Korean media credibility. It has continued with efforts to maintain that relevance, especially amongst younger people. In 2021, KBS established the 1020 Audience Committee, a group of 30 young people who provide feedback on KBS content and how it can engage with young audiences.

KBS is also recognised as a regional and global leader in public media. It is one of eight members of the Global Task Force for Public Media (GTF), launched in 2020, of which PMA is the Secretariat. In 2007 and 2018, it hosted the Public Broadcasters International (PBI) conference, and in late-2023, it will host the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union’s (ABU) AGA.  

2023 also proves to be a significant year, as KBS celebrates its 50th Anniversary, as well as the 20th Anniversary of the launch of KBS World TV, its international service.

Kim Eui-chul
Kim Eui-Chul is the President & CEO of KBS. Credit: KBS
KBS is pleased to become a member of the Public Media Alliance especially when we, the primary Public Service Media of South Korea, celebrate the 50th anniversary in March 2023.
Recreated as a genuine public service broadcaster in 1973, we have been a fundamental part of the sound democracy in the country and evolved to serve audiences at home and abroad with trusted news and outstanding content.
As a member of the PMA, we would like to explore more opportunities to develop cooperative initiatives with the member organisations from different regions. We hope our new membership will serve to reinforce our commitment to distinctive values and roles of Public Service Media which will lead to preserve its independence and freedom. Also, KBS is a member of the Global Task Force for public media (GTF). We will continue to join efforts by the GTF to uphold the values of public media. Thank you.
Kim Eui-Chul, President and CEO, KBS

I offer a warm welcome to KBS as it joins our global alliance. I have long admired the critical role KBS plays in South Korea, in providing high quality and trusted sources of information, education, and entertainment. For 50 years, KBS has set the standard for public media in the wider region, demonstrating the value of independent public service media to democratic society.
With public media facing increasingly shared challenges worldwide, KBS has also been a role model to all in pioneering new technologies and strategies to improve its offering for Korean audiences. PMA has worked closely with KBS to advocate for media freedom and media independence through its position on the GTF, and I am proud to call them a member of PMA.
We congratulate KBS on their 50th Anniversary and look forward to working closely with them in the months and years ahead.
Kristian Porter, CEO of the Public Media Alliance
Kristian Porter
CEO of Public Media Alliance