Thursday, July 2, 2009

Freedom of Speech on the Internet in Korea

Issues relating to freedom of speech for Koreans on the internet are almost continually in the news.  According to the Korea Times, South Korea's National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said on Wednesday that the current Telecommunications Law infringes upon the freedom of expression protected under the constitution and asked the judiciary to take a cautious approach in dealing with relevant cases. The law (article 47, clause 1) bans the spread of misleading information with the intention of ``damaging the public interest’’ via telecommunication infrastructure including the Internet.  According to the NHRC, ``Since the law was enacted 45 years ago, it has never been applied except for some recent cases, including Minerva. This means the law is unnecessary and outdated."  The law created a stir after online commentator Park Dae Sung, who used the alias "Minerva" was indicted on charges of breaking the law which sees violators face a prison term of up to five years or a fine of up to 50 million won.  Park was acquitted in April.

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