Last year the Korean government raised concerns about the KPA’s alleged poor accounting procedures, and the KPA responded with a defamation claim. The minister concerned has moved on, but the matter remains unresolved.
Interest in Korean publishing has never been higher, reports Hwang Dong-hee for the Korean Herald, but differences between the organisers of the Seoul International Book Fair and the Korean Ministry of Culture have carried over from last year, and threaten to hurt the South Korean publishing industry at an international level.
Korean Publishers Association Chairman Yoon Chul-ho explained at a press conference that the KPA, founded in 1947 and with over 4,000 members, is not getting the support it needs from the government in the form of subsidies for events such as the Seoul International Book Fair and managing pavilions at other international book fairs around the world.
As well as the 66th Seoul International Book Fair this year (June 26-30) the KPA has its inaugural Busan International Children’s Book Fair (November 29-December 1), the KPA has to represent Korea as the guest country of honor from the Montreal Book Fair in Canada and the Sao Paulo International Book Fair in Brazil, as well as attend other global fairs on behalf of its members.
Per Hwang Dong-hee, “Traditionally, the KPA and the Culture Ministry jointly operated the guest country of honor’s pavilion at book fairs, but the government notified the association that it would not do so this year.”
The KPA has allocated KRW 3 billion, but without further support from the govt its activities will have to be downsized.
As reported by TNPS, back in August last year the Korean government raised concerns about the KPA’s alleged poor accounting procedures, and the KPA responded with a defamation claim. The minister concerned has moved on, but the matter remains unresolved.
Currently the government position is that the government’s own Publication Industry Promotion Agency of Korea should run the fairs and overseas representations rather than the KPA.
The Culture Ministry issued a statement this week saying: “We plan to support the Seoul International Book Fair in a way that is helpful to the publishing industry. However, it is difficult for the KPA, which is currently under investigation, to directly execute the budget. So, the ministry is looking for reasonable alternatives.”
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