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Korean press boosts coverage of Catholics

Catholicism and Islam on the rise in the media

Korean press boosts coverage of Catholics
Daily newspapers at a stall
Stephen Hong, Seoul

January 10, 2011

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South Korea’s top 10 secular dailies covered more stories on the Catholic Church and on Islam in 2010 while articles on Buddhism remained the most frequent. The Korean Association of (Protestant) Church Communication (KACC) released its 2010 report monitoring religious stories in the press on Jan. 7. Stories on Buddhism comprised 35.0 percent of all 8,941 articles. Another 27.5 percent dealt with Protestantism while Catholicism scored 17.8 percent. Reports on Protestantism were down by 8.5 percent from 36.0 percent in the KACC’s 2007 report. On the other hand, Buddhism and Catholicism increased by 1.0 percent and 7.6 percent respectively. The Protestant share of stories shifted mainly to Catholicism, the KACC noted in its analysis, adding that the phenomenon correlated with a sharp increase in the Catholic population. According to the 2005 Population Census, the percentage of Catholics in South Korea increased from 6.6 percent of the population in 1995 to 10.9 percent in 2005. Meanwhile, the proportion of Protestants declined from 19.7 to 18.3 percent. The increase in the number of stories on Islam was also “noteworthy,” the KACC said, with the number of articles on Islam rising from 5.5 percent in 2007 to 8.4 percent in 2010. Francis Park Moon-su, vice president of the Catholic Academy for Korean Culture, told a recent symposium that South Korea’s cultural geography would change rapidly as a result of the nation’s more than one million immigrants from 50 countries. “Islam is already the fourth great religion in the country,” Park argued, urging the Church to prepare for interreligious dialogue with Islam. In its overall evaluation, the KACC suggested that the Protestant Church needs to raise its presence in the media. Related report Catholicism gets South Koreans’vote on trust KO12778.1636
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