Thursday, June 26, 2008

[The Hankyoreh, June 18 2008] Internet free speech to be restricted

Cheong Wa Dae takes steps to decrease negative public online opinion

The administration and the ruling Grand National Party are moving to control public opinion on the internet that is disadvantageous to them.

In the welcome speech at the opening event for a meeting of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ministers at the COEX convention center in Seoul’s Samseong-dong on June 17, President Lee Myung-bak said, “Spam mail from anonymous users and the spread of false and inaccurate information is threatening reason and trust on the internet. The internet needs to be a place of trust. The strength of the internet can be poison instead of medicine if people cannot have faith in it.”

As a leading Internet-driven country, Korea is exhibiting the powerful influence of the Internet in all fields, including politics, the economy, society and culture, according to President Lee, adding, “We are experiencing that the Internet is very useful when it works positively, while it has very harmful effects when it works negatively.” Such remarks by President Lee apparently are based on the perception that “false information” spread by the Internet has aggravated concerns about mad cow disease and led to candlelight rallies, consequently shaking the current political situation.

The government and ruling Grand National Party are taking steps to restrict or control the Internet media.

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