The Public Media Alliance welcomes decision to back down on a proposed bill that could have significant repercussions for press freedom in South Korea.

Following failed negotiations between the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) and the opposition People Power Party (PPP), and widespread criticism from home and abroad, DPK lawmakers have conceded to further delay the proposed amendment of the Press Arbitration Act bill. A vote in the National Assembly will not be made this year.

Instead, the DPK has agreed to form a special committee to further review this and other media-related bills. According to the Korea Times, if the PPP candidate – who is opposed to the bill – wins the presidential election next March, it could even be removed completely.


There were growing fears that proposed measures under the bill would undermine press freedom and limit freedom of expression, such as the imposition of large fines on critical media outlets accused of producing so called ‘fake news’. President Moon Jae-in has reportedly also recognised these concerns and supports the need for a thorough discussion among stakeholders.

Background: South Korea to vote on “concerning “fake news” law

The International Federation of Journalists, one of many civil society organisations that demanded revisions to the bill, also welcomed the backdown and “calls for a broader discussion between the authorities and journalists, scholars and legal experts so as to improve the media environment and safeguard press freedom in South Korea.”

Header Image: Seoul, South Korea 1/20/2020 Yeouido Korea National Assembly Proceeding Hall Chamber. Credit: NGCHIYUI/