Wednesday, October 08, 2008

[JoongAng Ilbo, Culture, Arts, October 1 2008] [TALK OF THE TOWN]SBS drama ‘Painter of the Wind’ breezes into Japanese TV market

Avex Entertainment, a major distribution company in Japan, has bought the televising rights and DVD distributorship for SBS TV’s “The Painter of the Wind.”

The drama depicts the lives of painters Shin Yun-bok (1758-early 19th century) and Kim Hong-do (born 1745).
[JoongAng Ilbo , Opinion, Letters, October 3 2008] [LETTERS to the editor]Google and globalization in Korea

The Internet itself epitomizes globalization, and there is no more prominent indication of this than Google’s success.

Because the Internet unleashes a flood of information, its users around the world now turn to Google to tame that flood and find the information they need. People in virtually every country of the world now “Google it” to find press coverage, images, videos and more.

Nevertheless, there are four nations in the world in which success seems to elude Google. The Financial Times, in an article accompanied by a map of the non-Google World, reported that Google has failed to achieve success in South Korea, China, Russia and the Czech Republic.

Here in Korea, the major media have made much of how Naver leads the search market and has so far beaten Google.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

[JoongAng Ilbo , Opinion, Columns, October 4 2008] [Outlook]Regulating the Internet

Those who want privacy can remain behind closed doors. But they shouldn’t attack other people who are in an open square while they remain in hiding.

Many agree that maligning and groundless rumors in cyberspace were one of the reasons actress Choi Jin-sil committed suicide. But I heard someone disagree saying, “That’s not enough to make someone commit suicide. There must be other reasons.”

But he could only say so because he hasn’t been the victim of cyber terrorism himself. One can truly understand that kind of pain only after firsthand experience. In May, when candlelit vigils were staged every night, I wrote a column about the panic over mad cow disease. I wrote that if it was really possible to get the disease, I would be one of the first to get it because I had lived in the United States and consumed a lot of beef there. The point was that fear about mad cow disease was unreasonably blown up.

I wrote with sincerity and honesty but it was regarded as “a far-fetched column that misled people,” one netizen commented. The column was posted on Web sites frequented by progressives and all kinds of condemnation and criticism poured in.
[JoongAng Ilbo , Opinion, Editorials, October 4 2008] A law for Choi Jin-sil

The Internet is inundated with insults, defamations and groundless rumors. This must be corrected. Actress Choi Jin-sil’s suicide reconfirms the urgency of the task. It is said that Choi suffered from depression after her divorce. Added to her burden were recent rumors in cyberspace that linked her to Ahn Jae-hwan, another actor who also recently committed suicide. It is reported that the night before she died, Choi cried and told her mother she was disappointed with people and asked why they made up rumors that she was a loan shark. After her death, even more rumors sprang up, such as, “She probably committed suicide because she was afraid the rumors would turn out to be true.”

Recently, an increasing number of people are targets of insulting remarks and rumors on the Internet. Singer Yuni and actress Jung Da-bin committed suicide in January and February, last year. It was revealed that they were also the targets of ill-intended Internet remarks. The case was the same with a high school student who appeared in a TV program in June 2007 as an example of someone who successfully lost weight. Later, a picture of her with a popular boy band was released and the band’s fans attacked and insulted her. In the end, she chose to kill herself.
[JoongAng Ilbo , Business, IT/Science, October 6 2008] Cheaper chats with Internet phones

innovations in the Korean IT industry

Choi Young-cheol, a 29-year-old graduate student living in Pohang, North Gyeongsang, used to pay about 175,000 won ($143.3) per month in phone bills since he called his girlfriend frequently.

Ever since he signed up for LG Dacom’s Internet telephony service, however, he only pays 87,000 won each month.

On top of this 50 percent reduction in his phone bill, Choi was picked as the subscriber who has saved the most money among LG Dacom’s Internet telephone subscribers in July.

Due to its price competitiveness, Internet telephony, or voice-over-Internet protocol, is becoming the newest digital revolution to benefit Koreans, who spend about 5 percent of their total living expenses on telecom fees.
[JoongAng Ilbo , Business, Industry, October 7 2008] The next generation of wireless broadband

Lee Sun-jong, who works on the 119 rescue team at Bundang Fire Station, recently handled an emergency case using wireless broadband.

As he transported a patient to a nearby hospital, a doctor was able to send him tips after receiving the patient’s vital signs from the ambulance running at 110 kilometers per hour (68.4 mph).

“Quicker first-aid treatment was possible because I could report the patient’s conditions through WiBro,” Lee told reporters earlier this month. WiBro is an abbreviation for wireless broadband.
[JoongAng Ilbo , Business, Industry, October 4 2008] Plugged in

Participants at the 2008 Family E-Sports Festival in Gunsan, North Jeolla, play computer games. The annual family festival is aimed at promoting gaming culture.[YONHAP]
[JoongAng Ilbo , Business, Industry, October 2 2008] MSN Video to enter crowded pool

The world’s two IT giants are likely to have a bout on Korean soil over the video services and online advertising market as the local unit of U.S. software giant Microsoft is expected to officially launch a Korean-language version of its Internet video-streaming service.

Microsoft currently provides a beta test version of its MSN Video service in Korean, which features various content from music video to movie and news clips.

“The Web site is being revamped at the moment. We are also trimming some of the language [from English into Korean]. The full version of MSN Video will be unveiled soon, but it’s hard to say when the official launch day will be,” said an official of Microsoft Korea.
[JoongAng Ilbo , National, Social affairs, October 7 2008] Crackdown on online rumors begins

An office worker identified only by the surname Kim recently received an e-mail from an acquaintance. The message had an attachment called “entertainer X-file 2” that contained private information about celebrities.

Though he was not sure whether or not it was true, Kim forwarded the message to a friend. It quickly spread across the Internet.

This type of gossip publication, known as a jjirasi, is similar to an attachment spread in 2005. It made its way around the securities industry and then out onto the Web. The message ended up creating a huge controversy, and police got involved.
[JoongAng Ilbo , National, Social affairs, October 6 2008] Cyber terror sleuths planning Internet crackdown

Police will start a one-month probe into false rumors and malicious postings on the Internet after the death of a leading actress who committed suicide last week allegedly due to Web rumors, police said yesterday.

They said they intend to investigate and arrest those who repeatedly make malicious postings.

The Cyber Terror Response Center of the National Police Agency said it would mobilize all 900 cyber investigators in the country and begin the one-month crackdown on Internet malpractice starting today.
[JoongAng Ilbo , National, Social affairs, October 4 2008] Choi suicide sparks debate about Internet slander law

GNP would make Internet users give their real names

With the recent suicide of actress Choi Jin-sil, there is growing public sentiment that penalties against those who post malicious or defamatory comments on the Internet should be strengthened.

Politicians, entertainers and Internet users have entered the debate over whether to introduce laws to regulate slander in cyberspace.

“In the last few years, there has been an increase in the number of entertainers and ordinary people who take their own lives because of malicious Internet postings. There needs to be legal restraint against those making such postings,” an Internet user wrote on one portal.
[JoongAng Ilbo , National, Social affairs, October 3 2008] Celebrities driven over the edge by online rumors

When actress Choi Jin-sil was found dead yesterday morning in an apparent suicide, the whole nation was shocked, but at least one person didn’t seem to sympathize.

The personal blog of Choi Jin-young, the dead star’s younger brother who is also a well-known actor, was invaded by a user identified as “Kwon Baeksu.”

Kwon not only wrote, “It’s good that she died,” but also mocked Choi Jin-young. Other netizens came to the star’s defense, retorting, “Would you be laughing like that if a member of your family died?”

Choi died yesterday morning, but her reputation is suffering a further death on the Internet by the fingertips of users who are rushing to disseminate rumors about her.
[JoongAng Ilbo , National, Politics, October 3 2008] Korea and Japan agree on joint test near Dokdo

South Korea and Japan are expected to continue joint radioactivity contamination tests in the sea near Dokdo, the Korean-controlled islets called Takeshima in Japan, for three straight years, despite the recent flare-up in the territorial dispute over the islets.

Since 2006, the two countries have been jointly conducting scientific tests on the impact of radioactive waste Russia dumped in the sea decades ago. The waters in which the tests are being conducted are about 80 kilometers (50 miles) away from Dokdo, according to a senior South Korean government official who asked for customary anonymity.
[Chosun Ilbo, October 7 2008] N. Korea Delivers Ultimatum to U.S., Reports Chosun Shinbo

North Korea has described a formula for the peaceful resolution of the nuclear issue to American envoy Christopher Hill, and delivered “an ultimatum in this regard. It seems the North presented a bold, epoch-making solution," the Chosun Shinbo, a mouthpiece for Pyongyang published by the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan or Chongryon, asserted on Monday.
[Chosun Ilbo, October 6 2008] Cyber Slander Law Stirs Public Sentiment

Controversy has flared up over Grand National Party's attempt to pass a law on online slander and real-name use on the Internet, stoked by the suicide of a leading actress last week who was apparently in distress over online rumors about her. Critics warn the law could lead to abuse of state power.

In a statement Monday, the Civil Coalition for Fairness in Media said, "If the GNP pushes for the legislation of a bill allowing prosecutors to investigate and indict cyber slanderers even if there is no complaint from victims, there will be grave infringements on privacy."
[Chosun Ilbo, October 6 2008] We Need Consensus on Regulating the Web

The government and ruling party have decided to create a law that punishes people who slander others in cyberspace. The measure was prompted by the death of actress Choi Jin-sil, who apparently committed suicide after being hounded by malicious rumors on the Internet. The government and Grand National Party also decided to require people to register with their real names on more websites before posting messages.

The Cyber Terror Response Center of the National Police Agency received complaints about 4,991 cases of Internet violence in 2003, and this almost tripled to 12,905 in 2007. Some celebrities have killed themselves after becoming the targets of cyber terror, while others, from ordinary people to businesses, suffered indiscriminate cyber attacks. Two different groups of movie directors issued statements saying they hope Choi’s case would provide the impetus to “purify” the Internet, which had been contaminated by false rumors and irresponsible attacks against others by anonymous people. Even movie directors, who cherish their right to freedom of expression, are saying they want to go back to the analog days when people wrote letters to each other. This is how far things have gone.
[Chosun Ilbo, October 6 2008] Political Parties Wrangle Over Cyber Slander Act

Political parties were bogged down in wrangling Friday over the Cyber Slander Act that would require people to use their real names when posting comments on the Internet and punish cyber-bullying. The ruling Grand National Party wants the bill in the name of human rights protection, but the main opposition Democratic Party has denounced it as undermining freedom of speech. Besides these ostensible reasons, the parties also base their stance on calculation of what serves them best on the Internet, where the progressives are more vociferously represented.

In a press conference, GNP floor leader Hong Joon-pyo said the party “will make utmost efforts to realize the enactment of a law punishing cyber-bullying and requiring the use of real names in cyber space, which is sought by the government.” Hong’s comments come in the aftermath of the suicide of actress Choi Jin-sil, which was apparently spurred by malicious rumors on the Internet.
[Chosun Ilbo, October 6 2008] Police Cracking Down on Malicious Online Messages

The National Police Agency on Sunday decided to investigate and arrest habitual "cyber slanderers" who spread false rumors or post malicious messages online. Police are to mobilize some 900 cyber investigators to crack down on such slanderers for a month until Nov. 5.

They will crack down on the false rumors about individuals or groups, postings of malicious online messages, blackmail through website community bulletin boards, e-mails or text messages, and cyberstalking. They will identify and arrest those who habitually and maliciously spread such messages no matter how minor the damage.
[Chosun Ilbo, October 4 2008] Chosun’s Documentary about North Korean Defectors Previewed at Japanese Diet

A preview of the Chosun Ilbo’s documentary film about North Korean defectors, titled On the Border, was screened at 11:00 am, October 1, at the Japanese Diet. Attending the screening, which was sponsored by an organization dedicated to safeguarding human rights for North Korean defectors, were four representatives from the organization, Nakasawa Masaharu and Nakayama Yashide from the House of Representatives, Fukuyama Tesuoh from the House of Councils, and three North Korean defectors now living in Japan.

[Chosun Ilbo, October 2 2008] Diet Previews Chosun Ilbo’s N.Korea Documentary

The Chosun Ilbo’s documentary on North Korean refugees, “On the Border,” had its Japanese preview at the House of Representatives in Tokyo on Wednesday. Some 40 lawmakers and North Korea human rights activists attended the preview held by the Society to Help Returnees to North Korea. Three defectors from North Korea who settled in Japan also came to watch the documentary.
[Chosun Ilbo, September 30 2008] Broadcasters Must Become More Accountable

The Citizens Coalition for Fair Media announced the results of research showing the contents of KBS and MBC news programs over a 71-day period between April 18, when Korea-U.S. beef talks were concluded, through June 26, when U.S. beef imports resumed. The findings show that the news programs dedicated a quarter of their daily broadcasts or between six and seven articles per program to news related to the mad cow scare. The ratio of news dedicated to conveying the position of the anti-import protesters versus the government’s position was 68 : 16 at MBC and 53 : 15 at KBS, the coalition said.

In the way they reported on the violent protesters and their clashes with riot police, the newscasts painted a picture of protesters remaining peaceful in their methods, while criticizing law enforcement officials of going too far in clamping down on the unrest. The ratio of interviews supporting the protesters versus those carrying the government’s position was 64 : 26 at MBC and 44 : 26 at KBS.
[Hankyoreh, October 6 2008] No language in common

“It’s darn hard being a common person in this economy,” says your average, everyday Korean, adding language that reads: “#%SGT#$*Q$%#.”

“WHAT did you say?” demands the Grand National Party and, at right, the National Security Law.

“Bad laws” (like the National Security Law) are being “unleashed” onto the Korean public and “bad comments on the Internet” are being targeted by the Lee Myung-bak administration.
[Hankyoreh, October 6 2008] [Editorial] Exploiting death with Internet controls

The Lee Myung-bak administration and the ruling Grand National Party have begun to actively use the death of Choi Jin-sil as an excuse to legally define a new crime, that of “cyber insult.” They want to expand the program that requires “real name confirmation” of Internet users and to make it easier to have posted comments deleted.

The GNP says it is going to submit and pass a revision to the Information Communications Network Law that it will call the “Choi Jin-sil Act.” That, however, would only be affixing the name of the deceased in the wrong place. The idea of making a “cyber insult” a crime was Justice Minister Kim Kyung-hwan’s idea back in July, immediately following the candlelight protests, and the purpose then was to put a lid on Internet users criticizing the administration. The plan, at the administration-level, was to require wider-ranging identity checks for people who want to post comments and make it easier to have comments deleted so as to suppress Internet users’ political participation and outspokenness. Now they are trying to use Choi’s death for political purposes. It is crude and inhumane.
[Hankyoreh, October 4 2008] Celebrity’s death resurrects debate about Internet postings

Some say regulation is needed to curb negative comments, while others say regulations could limit freedom of expression

Korea is seeing a replay of the “vicious comments” debate, in response to reports Choi Jin-sil told people close to her before committing suicide that she was psychologically distressed over rumors circulating on the Internet that she was involved in personal loans that led actor Ahn Jae-hwan to commit suicide. The debate is largely between people on one side who think that the “passive-aggressive accomplices” who have been posting vicious rumors about Choi on the Internet need to “reflect on their ways,” and others, who say overemphasizing the role of a small number of akpeulleo (“people who post vicious rumors”) could lead to limits on the freedom of expression. Akpeul is a newly coined word consisting of ak, meaning bad, and part of the English word “ripple.”

As of October 3, bulletin boards at various online communities are busy with calls for introspection on the part of the country’s netizens.
[Hankyoreh, September 29 2008] Probable certainty?

When President Lee Myung-bak, his sidekick the Mad Cow, and the conservative media spoke about the risk of mad cow disease, they talked about it in terms of probability, speaking of the likelihood of being affected by mad cow disease in terms of millionths.