Author: Ryan Lippert

SOUTH KOREA: Overregulation of Technology Coming to an End?

RYAN LIPPERT WRITES – South Korea enjoys some of the world’s most advanced technology. In addition, the country enoys nearly ubiquitous and extremely fast broadband. Still, one thing keeps South Korea from realizing its full online potential: Heavy-handed government regulation. This may be about to change. In South Korea, the Internet has been subject to a variety of government regulations, including online curfews for people under a certain age, laws requiring people to post under their actual names, bans on porn, and even laws limiting use of Google Maps to mass transit routes only. Like most other laws, these were put in place to accomplish admirable goals, like trying to reduce suicides from cyber-bullying and the amount of geographical data available to North Korea. But the problem with over regulation is the possibility that those steps will stifle growth. The South Korean government has recognized this possibility and may be about to act on it. Last year, South Koreans were allowed once again to choose their own online usernames, instead of being required to use their real names. And it appears that this may be just the tip of the iceberg. Last month, it was announced that there are plans to loosen the strict regulations on maps and allow Google to make new maps of South Korea. However, there are some limitations as to what Google can do under these new laws. It’s...

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South Korea: Propaganda Disguised as Education?

RYAN LIPPERT WRITES – A new textbook awaiting publication by Kyohak Publishing Co. is now the subject of an intense argument between South Korean liberals and conservatives. On both sides, politicians, media personalities, and educators are making their opinions known. Following the South Korean Ministry of Education’s decision to require students to learn Korean history for the College Scholastic Ability Test, the National Institute of Korean History (NIKH) agreed that eight textbooks would be acceptable for high school history classes. One of these books was written by a group of conservatives and was immediately criticized by liberals when the NIKH stated it met the requirements for inclusion in high school classes. Despite this, the Minister of Education and Kyohak have expressed negative sentiments. So, why is this book such a big deal? According to liberals, it praises the dictatorships that ruled the country from the 60s to the 80s while ignoring the abuses suffered by citizens under those regimes. To this end, some worry that the work may be a political statement supporting President Park Geun-hye, daughter of one of the country’s former dictators. Many also disapproved of the book’s support of the Japanese colonization of the nation from 1910 to 1945. Further, critics claim that the authors did not get their facts straight, citing close to three hundred errors! If that isn’t bad enough, it has been verified...

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NORTH KOREA: Did Porn put Popstar in Firing Line?

RYAN LIPPERT WRITES – A dozen North Korean musicians faced a government firing squad last month for allegedly making and selling porn. That might have gone unnoticed by the world if one of them hadn’t been Hyon Song-wol, national chanteuse and hottie former girlfriend of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. Conspiracy theorists, start your engines. In addition to their alleged sex videos, rumor had it some of the accused also owned Bibles, a big no-no in the hermit kingdom. The musicians’ families and fellow performers were forced to attend the execution, then shuttled off to concentration camps for their connections to the dead, according to South Korean news reports. Business as usual in North Korea? Maybe. The less suspicious say it’s just another way for Kim Jong-Un to solidify his power as Supreme Leader, and is consistent with his reputation for cruelty when dealing with those he sees as a threat to his regime. But others speculate Jong-Un’s current wife, Ri Sol-ju, may have played a role in the production, jealous after hearing rumors her husband and Hyon were still having a secret fling. Whatever the cause, it’s clear the killings have taken a toll North Korea’s entertainment industry. The surviving members of the Wangjaesan Light Music Band quit after their fellow performers were executed. And the execution will likely discourage many North Koreans from filming their own sex tapes. For...

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NORTH KOREA: It’s A Very Hard Sell

RYAN LIPPERT WRITES – It seems that some foreigners are growing tired of the international community’s casting of North Korea as the outcast on the block. Hoping to change its undesirable reputation, a group called the Korean Friendship Association (KFA) has been running a YouTube channel focused on portraying the nation in a positive light. Instead of showing the various problems of the Hermit Kingdom, the KFA attempts to portray the nation as advanced, happy and free. But, there are many issues that prevent the KFA from achieving its goal, such as the language barrier between itself and its international audience – not to mention by the country. There are technical issues as well. While it translates written posts, most of its videos are only in Korean. Further, The KFA’s work is plagued by inconsistencies, including the claim that the group is it is impartial in nature. This is contradicted by the fact some of its articles clearly side with North Korea. The group is made up of a variety of non-North Koreans, with the goal of bringing an alternative viewpoint of North Korea to the outside world. But it is unlikely the KFA will be able to convince its audience, since many Western news outlets draw attention to the human rights abuses taking place in North Korea. For more information please visit:...

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SOUTH KOREA: Complaining About the Boss Gets Newspaper Staff Locked Out

RYAN LIPPERT WRITES – Bad bosses have made life miserable for employees since the dawn of time, but Chang Jae-ku is one boss who won’t tolerate complaints. Since June 15, approximately 180 correspondents have been kept from returning to their jobs at Hankook Ilbo, a South Korean newspaper. Their boss, Chang Jae-ku, has kept them out because some of the employees at the paper criticized his management style. According to Reporters Without Borders, “The case goes back to 29 May, when part of the newspaper’s editorial staff filed a complaint with the Seoul public prosecutor’s office accusing Chang of ‘breach of trust’ in his management of the newspaper.” This complaint is what allegedly sparked the events of June 15. On that day, Chang used a group of security guards to remove two of his employees from the building and keep 180 more outside. Chang also made significant changes to the workforce at Hankook Ilbo. Reporters Without Borders wrote that “Hankook Ilbo editor-in-chief Lee Young-sung was demoted and replaced by Jong-oh Ha, a retired editorial writer close to the owner. The management also appointed two new editorial writers,” and “certain staff members have been fired and replaced by Chang allies.” Naturally, the staffers who’ve been refused entry have complained, hoping to attract media attention. Whether or not Chang will relent may render interesting results for the future of the paper....

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Asia Media Podcasts

Asia Media International Staff

ASIA MEDIA INTERNATIONAL is a student-driven publication of Loyola Marymount University’s Asia Media Center – a vital part of LMU’s Department of Asian and Asian American Studies (AAAS), in an alliance with the university's award-winning Dept.of Political Science, and with the influential Pacific Century Institute.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR and Executive Assistant to the Editor-in-Chief:
Jay Seo

Aashna Malpani, Yi Ning Wong

Savannah Nunez

Katrina Crosby

Staff Writers [Beat]:
Nadia Aljojo
Kate Barkley [Australia]
Murad Basrawi
Alexis Cruz [Qatar]
Truman Daly
Jacqueline Dilanchyan
Bobby Fretz
Ephiphany Hulburd
Diana Jablonski [Malaysia]
Matthew Lange [Asian Profiles,Anime]
Frances Magsalin [Korea/Kpop]
Beth McLaughlin
Rachel Oakes
Hiromi Ochi [Singapore]
Dylan Ramos
Fassa Sar [Film]
Tiara Salvabilla
Gloria Santillan [Korea]
Sebastian Segura [Russia]
Elizabeth Soelistio [Indonesia]
Nicolas Swaya
C.J. Stone [Japan]

Special Correspondent:
Clementine Todorov

Curriculum Coordinator:
Evan Sun

Video Team Editor:
Momokoo (Yuchan) Deng

Emeritus Managing Editors:
Savannah Nunez
= Sabrina Verduzco
= Mary Grace Costa
Kelcey Lorenzo

Contribuing Editors Emeritus:

Robert Dylan Fields
Eriko Lee Katayama
Ryan Lippert
Adrian Narayan [India]
James Royce [Australia]
Miranda Pak [Hong Kong]
Lamiya Shabir [Pakistan & Islam]
Yunfei Suo [China]
Erisa Takeda [Japan Politics]
Ryan Urban [Singapore]

Emeritus Associate Publishers:
Jeremiah Fajardo
Brian Chris Canave
Peyton Cross

Emeritus Executive Editor:
Lexie Tucker

Emeritus Executive Senior Editor and Senior Writing Instructor:
Ben Sullivan

Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Prof Tom Plate


Gareth C.C. Chang, Tom Plate, Jennifer Ramos, Kal Raustiala, Jeremiah Fajardo, Ben Sullivan, Greg Treverton