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KoreanPublishers vs. Ministry: Legal Battle Brewing

by | Jun 1, 2024 | News

The Korean Publishers Association (KPA) is gearing up for a legal battle against the Culture Ministry, aiming to counter allegations of corruption. The Publication Industry Promotion Agency of Korea, under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, has demanded the return of 359 million won ($263,573) in funding. This penalty is tied to purportedly missing profit reports discovered during an audit of KPA’s management of the Seoul International Book Fair (SIBF) from 2018 to 2022.

 

In July, the ministry accused the KPA of failing to submit proper profit records for SIBF since 2018, prompting a financial audit and an investigation by the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency for violations of the Subsidy Management Act. The KPA has countered, asserting that the Publication Industry Promotion Agency of Korea lacks the legal authority to reclaim the funds. “SIBF is a KPA initiative of 66 years, independent of government control,” stated Korean Publishers Association President Yoon Chul-ho.

 

The Culture Ministry revealed that government funding partly supports SIBF and initiated its investigation following an anonymous tip to the Board of Audit in May 2021. The audit in July uncovered deleted and redacted profit records from the past five years.

 

“If a lawsuit is filed, we will address it in court,” a ministry official remarked.

 

SIBF, the country’s largest book fair, is funded with about 1 billion won in taxpayer money annually. This year’s event in June saw 130,000 visitors, 210 guest speakers, and 530 publishers from 36 countries. Established in 1947, the KPA is Korea’s oldest and largest private publishing industry organization.

 

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