Friday, December 23, 2011

Government efforts to control internet speech in Korea

International media, including The Washington Post have taken notice of efforts by the Korean government to monitor and control speech on the internet, as touched on in a post earlier this month.   The Post article notes that South Korea’s Internet watchdog, the Korea Communications Standards Commission, was created in 2008, empowered to patrol the Web for obscenity, defamation and anything that threatens national security. It’s technically an independent organization, but its nine members are appointed by the president. The article also took note that this week South Korea’s Supreme Court upheld a ruling against one of the country’s most popular political commentators, who co-hosts a podcast that criticizes President Lee Myung-bak. The court said Chung Bong-ju, 51, was guilty of spreading rumors about Lee’s connection to an alleged stock fraud. Chung faces a one-year jail term. “In America, it’s almost impossible to prove defamation against a public figure,” Chung said in an recent interview, before the Supreme Court determined his case. “Here it’s easy. . . . When people open their mouths now, they are regulated.”

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