[KS] Censorship in democratic Korea

Afostercarter at aol.com Afostercarter at aol.com
Fri Jul 9 09:33:38 EDT 2004

As this discussion is now broadening, 
might I toss some related items into the pot?

1. The Internet aside, there appear to be concerns too
regarding other media. President Roh Moo-hyun's oft
expressed distaste for the main Seoul dailies seems 
unhealthy in a head of state. Even under Kim Dae-jung,
tax and other audits of the Chosun Ilbo et al looked ominous,
and attracted international criticism. Such threats are
apparently now being renewed.

2. Conversely, it is widely claimed that broadcast media
(KBS and MBC, specifically) reflect the present government's
agenda and mindset to the virtual exclusion of other viewpoints;
even, for instance, in covering the impeachment episode.
Might regular viewers care to comment?

3. One specific tale which stunned me is the possibly terminal
harassment of an Internet radio station in Seoul run by DPRK
defectors, for being "unpatriotic." (More details and comment at:
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Korea/FE18Dg01.html )

Admittedly it is hard to judge from a distance; but all this, too,
seems regrettable, or even disturbing.

Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Sociology & Modern Korea, Leeds University 

17 Birklands Road, Shipley, West Yorkshire, BD18 3BY, UK 
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Email: afostercarter at aol.com               website:  www.aidanfc.net

In a message dated 09/07/2004 09:44:21 GMT Standard Time, 
jsburgeson at yahoo.com writes:

> Subj:Re: [KS] Censorship in democratic Korea 
> Date:09/07/2004 09:44:21 GMT Standard Time
> From:jsburgeson at yahoo.com
> Reply-to:Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
> To:Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
> Sent from the Internet 
>    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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