After decades of state control and heavy censorship, the South Korean media have come into a period of relative freedom. The repressive Basic Press Law was repealed in 1987, and commercial television stations have grown. The number of newspapers has doubled, and a proliferation of weekly and monthly periodicals bypasses the higher profits of general circulation dailies to provide careful analyses of political, economic, and national security affairs to smaller, specialized audiences.
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The antiestablishment daily Hankyoreh was the first of these to challenge government control of the press. Its nationalism and interest in reunification were expressed in its logo, which depicted Lake Cheonji at the peak of Baekdu Mountain; its exclusive use of the 누누티비 오징어게임 alphabet; its refusal to take advertising from major corporations; and its decision to print horizontally rather than vertically, like most Seoul dailies. In addition, its journalists demanded greater management and editorial autonomy and pressed for trade unions to help them in their struggle.
After the March 1st Movement of 1919, the Japanese colonial authorities loosened their overt control over Korean cultural activities and allowed vernacular newspapers and intellectual journals to function while maintaining behind-the-scenes direction on politically sensitive topics. After World War II, however, the reestablishment of South Korea under Chun reintroduced state control and heavy censorship of the media. In addition, the government established a new agency, Yonhap News Agency, which provided domestic and foreign news to government agencies, newspapers, and broadcasters.