Tuesday, August 19, 2008

[The Chosun Ilbo, July 4 2008] Portals Must be Held Responsible for Cyber Violence

The Seoul High Court on Wednesday ruled in favor of a man who sued four major Internet portals for failing to delete postings defaming his character. The defamation suit stemmed from a posting that claimed the man, identified only by his family name Kim, had caused his pregnant girlfriend to commit suicide in 2005 by demanding they break up. That posting spread across Internet portals, prompting thousands of comments to be posted every day attacking the man. Later, Kim's mobile phone number, photograph, alma mater and workplace were revealed on the Internet. Kim had to quit his job and move to a new neighborhood.

The court ruled in favor of Kim, saying that Internet portals took media articles defaming his character and placed them in prime locations on their web sites, while the search functions of the portals were used to defame him. The court ruled that Internet portals should decide whether the contents of a posting defames a person's character and should either delete or block access to those postings if they do, even if the person being targeted does not request that they be deleted.

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