South Korea boasts well-established media systems including its vibrant music and film industries. In the early 21st century, the media industry is a thriving sector in the country’s economy, and most mass media in South Korea enjoy freedom from political regulations, but until the 1990s, mass media suffered from various types of implicit and explicit censorship by Korean governments that hampered their development. Government control over the media has a deep relationship with the nation’s premodern and modern history including Japan’s colonial rule in the early 20th century, the U.S. military government after independence (1945–1948), the Korean War (1950–1953), and a series of dictatorships after the foundation of the country.

This entry provides an overview of the history of mass media in premodern Korea and then ...

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