There is a term called “Republic of Seoul” in Korea. This term indicates that Korea’s politics, economics, society, culture, and so on are extremely concentrated in Seoul and people say “Republic of Seoul” ironically. The controversies toward whether Korea are really the Republic of Seoul or not, started in the past and recently these controversies gained attention again. Therefore, why do so many people think that too many things are concentrated in Seoul?
First, when we look at the broadcastings of Korea’s public TV stations including KBS, MBC, and SBS, they have broadcasted more than 16,000 news items regarding heat waves, 8,800 news items of heavy rain, and 68,000 news items for earthquake in Seoul since the broadcasting started. Compared to Seoul, other cities like Busan, Daegu, Daejeon, Gwangju, and Ulsan, the frequency of news items on these natural disasters were markedly low from 100 to 19,000 news items. Therefore, some people have dissatisfaction about these situations, because even though natural disasters occur in those cities, public TV does not broadcast this information, and instead they broadcast when natural disasters happen in Seoul or when the situation gets extremely serious.
Recently, there was a forest fire at Gangwon-do. Even though the forest fire was big, only cable TV channels such as YTN broadcasted about it at first. Many citizens of Gangwon-do could not know about the fire as public TV did not broadcast it immediately. They caught the news through Social Network Service (SNS) such as Twitter and Instagram. After the situation got worse, public TV finally broadcasted more information about it. What if the forest fire occurred at Seoul? Would public TV have broadcasted slowly just like the situation happened in Gwangwon-do? As a result of this situation, we might think that news is concentrated on Seoul.
Furthermore, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, among the 2,749 cultural facilities in Korea, 1,013 them are located around the capital area, counting for 36.8 percent. Most of the largest concert halls and auditoriums are also located in Seoul, so people living in provinces have to spend lots of money for transportation. Even the medical facilities are located around the capital areas, making it a serious problem of providing medical services in provinces. Hospitals which ranked the first grade are almost all located in the capital area including Seoul, Gyeonggi-do, and Incheon, which counted for 70 percent.
Some might think that the term “Republic of Seoul” is inappropriate and we can fully understand them. However, it might be true to say that term, since most of the services and facilities are focused on Seoul. Thus, there should be an appropriate balance between Seoul and the other provinces. While Seoul is the capital city of Korea and it is right to locate important facilities and places in the capital city, in some way, those things are too much. To make Korea a better country to live in, it would be better to give balanced opportunities to all the citizens. Morover, to develop the cities in harmony, it might be better to pay more attention to other cities in Korea.
Do Hyo-young, Editor-in-Chief firstname.lastname@example.org
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