Tuesday, August 05, 2008

[The Hankyoreh, July 23 2008] [Editorial] The real ‘cyber insult’: Internet control

Government control of the Internet is becoming more intense. The Korea Communications Commission wants to require people to confirm their identities online in a wider range of circumstances, and portal sites that do not delete defamatory content are going to be criminally prosecuted. Justice Minister Kim Kyung-han says he is considering the creation of a new crime, that of a “cyber insult.” This is a conspicuous revelation of the administration’s intention to completely control opinion on the Internet, and it is highly likely it will be a serious infringement on the freedom of expression.

If, as the administration wants, any site with more than 100,000 hits a day requires visitors confirm their legal identities, most sites will be required to do so. Proponents might say it’s no big deal, that all people will have to do is put their names on the line and honorably express their views, but that is not always how public opinion communicates. There are many times when, depending on the issue at hand, it is only by guaranteeing anonymity that you can have the free exchange of diverse ideas. If the Internet is going to function as a space for healthy debate in Korean society, then all regulations restricting the free expression of opinion need to be kept to a minimum.

No comments: