South Korea profile

TV is influential and the major terrestrial networks, including market leaders KBS and MBC, command the lion's share of viewing and advertising. Most South Koreans subscribe to digital cable and satellite.

Man reading a newspaper in South Korea Newspaper readership is high in South Korea

South Korean TV soaps are popular across the region, including in China. They are part of the "Korean Wave" - the export of South Korean popular culture across Asia.

Newspaper readership is high and there are more than 100 national and local dailies. The press is often critical of the government. Many newspapers are controlled by industrial conglomerates.

The government has stepped up pressure on TV channels that are seen as over-critical, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) notes. Nevertheless, South Korea is one of the few Asian nations where there is real news pluralism, it says.

South Korea is at the leading edge of the digital revolution. It is a trailblazer for high-speed and wireless internet. Around 41.5 million South Koreans were online by the end of 2013 (InternetWorldStats).

The country is a pioneer of TV via mobile devices and the internet (IPTV). Online gaming is a national passion.

The government has "put in place the means to scrutinise online news", says RSF. Scores of web users, including a well-known blogger, have been arrested following complaints from the government or individuals.

Twitter is a popular medium for political debate and campaigning. Use of the platform is twice the world average, a study has said.

South Korea has one of the world's biggest blogging communities, second only to China.

The press



News agency

More Asia-Pacific stories


Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Audi R8Need for speed

    Audi unveils its fastest production car ever - ahead of its Geneva debut


  • A bicycle with a Copenhagen WheelClick Watch

    The wheel giving push bikes an extra boost by turning them into smart electric hybrids

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.