Members of the South Korean police, media and parliament have blamed the internet for the death of actor Choi Jin Sil, who was the subject of rumours published online.
The country’s government is proposing new rules on internet use, including compulsory registration for forum users and the removal of ‘slanderous or fraudulent’ articles for 30 days.
Lee Han-ki, editor-in-chief of South Korea’s citizen journalism news organisation Oh My News, has said the proposed legislation to clampdown on online news in the country could stunt the ‘democratic development’ of the Korean press.
In an interview with the Guardian, Han-ki said the proposals are aimed at controlling public opinion of news media and repressing free speech.
Under the legislation proposed by newly-elected government leader Lee Myung-bak:
- Internet companies would have to make their search algorithms public
- Internet companies publishing news would be subject to the same regulation as media organisations
- Forum users would have to register under their real names
- The government would have the power to suspend publishing of articles found to be ‘fraudulent or slanderous’ for at least 30 days