Should government punish cyber slanderers?

Posted on: October 14, 2008

Choi Jin-Sil, a famous Korean actress recently commited suicide because of false rumors and malicious comments that spread through internet

Choi Jin-Sil, a famous Korean actress recently commited suicide because of false rumors and malicious comments that spread through internet

Recently, A Korean top actress, Choi Jin-Sil commited suicide. This news came as a horrible shock to Koreans, who enjoyed many movies and dramas that Choi Jin-Sil had participated in before her death. It has been investigated that she died because she couldn’t stand the false rumors and hurtful comments that spread online. There has been a rumor that she was related to recent suicide of another actor who died of huge debt that he couldn’t pay.

After this sudden death of a famous actress, Korean government is discussing lawful actions to prevent anymore of these disasters resulting from false rumors and cyber slanders. There is a heated debate on whether government should regulate internet replies.

Pro-regulation side is insisting that internet users should identify their real names before writing any comments. This is to prevent people using virtual identity and IDs to write down comments that hurt any other people. Furthermore, pro-regulation side proposed that cyber slanderers could be punished by law without the victim’s accusation. In fact, the police already mobilized more than 900 cyber investigators to arrest cyber slanderers. (More details in Chosun Ilbo)

However, there are people who are concerned about such government regulation. Restricting certain comments is against the freedom of speech, which means it is undemocratic. Some also raised concern that people would not be able to stand up for what they believe is true or right if they have to use their real identity. This would become a serious problem if it comes to politics, because government might restrict comments that are not favorable to it.

Listening to radio talks and news, I speculated on what the government should do about cyber slandering. Certainly there should be some effort to reduce malicioius messages online. However, the laws should be established after a long discussion and thoughts about the effect of enforcing those laws. Unless there is a clear criterion for deciding what is considered ‘malicious’ or ‘unacceptable’ message, these regulations might end up violating citizen’s rights to say what they believe in.


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  • Alice: Very insightful. I shall take your advice :]
  • Mr WordPress: Hi, this is a comment.To delete a comment, just log in, and view the posts' comments, there you will have the option to edit or delete them.


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