South Korea profile - Media

TV is influential and the major terrestrial networks, including market leaders KBS and MBC, command the biggest audiences. Most South Koreans subscribe to digital cable, satellite or Internet Protocol TV (IPTV).

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Image caption 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.

A defamation law that provides for prison sentences prompts self-censorship, says Reporters Without Borders (RSF). A security law banning content deemed favourable to North Korea and is one of the main grounds for online censorship, the group says.

South Korea is a trailblazer for high-speed and wireless internet. More than 45 million South Koreans were online by 2016 (InternetWorldStats). Nearly every household is on the web, Forbes magazine said in 2017.

More than 88% of internet users are connected to a messenger service. Local platform KakaoTalk is hugely popular. Online gaming is a national passion.

Around 64% of internet users are on Facebook, outstripping Twitter (36%).

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