[KS] Censorship in democratic Korea

J.Scott Burgeson jsburgeson at yahoo.com
Fri Jul 9 04:02:24 EDT 2004

   A letter in Friday's Korea Herald and an article in
Friday's JoongAng Daily report that dozens of
Korean-based foreigner-made blogs have had their
access shut down by the ROK government. The excuse by
the government is that a foreiger's Web site here had
had the Kim Sun-il video clip posted on it and that
this was an infringement of citizens' right to
happiness, since they could suffer trauma by seeing
the video. Indiscriminate blocking of an entire
category of Web sites simply because they are run by
foreigners seems like a slash-and-burn approach to
regulating free speech to me, or perhaps is, quite
ironically, an appropriation of George W. Bush's
doctrine of "pre-emption."

   One might also note that access to adult sites in
public PC bangs is blocked to all customers in South
Korea regardless of age, and if you are a foreigner
you cannot access them anywhere without a national ID
number, which also smacks of indirect censorship. It
also seems that if you do not follow the government's
new romanization system online, you can even be fined!

   Along with bans on assorted North Korean Web sites,
it seems that nationalism and morality clearly trump
free speech in the South Korea of 2004. But this is
not exactly earth-shattering news, is it?

   --Scott Bug    

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