PSPD in English Civil-Political 2010-12-30   3756

Welcome the ruling of the Constitutional Court, urging the government to stop its ‘censorship’

[A Joint Statement]
Welcome the ruling of the Constitutional Court, urging the government to stop its ‘censorship’

Today(28 Dec.), the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy(PSPD), the Progressive Networks Center(PNC), and the Center for Media Responsibility and Human Rights which have campaigned for the freedom of expression on the Internet announced a joint statement welcoming the ruling of the Constitutional Court that ‘charges of spreading false information’ is unconstitutional. With this judgement by the Constitutional Court as a momentum, the joint statement called on to stop what the government has tried to wither and restrict the freedom of expression. The following is the full statement.

Welcome the ruling that ‘false communication’ is unconstitutional

Urge the government to apologize deleting contents posted on the internet and criminally punishing people based on the article

Stop violating the freedom of expression immediately

Today(28 Dec.), the Constitutional Court has ruled that the article 47 of the Electronic Communication Fundamental Law, so-called article of ‘false information’, is against the constitution. We, the groups which have been against punishing people based on the regulation of ‘false communication’ and thought it as a violation of the freedom of expression, greatly welcome the judgment.

Meanwhile, lots of people have suffered from this law. The charge of ‘spreading false information’ had not been used to punish the citizens’ opinions before the candlelight vigil in 2008.

Nevertheless, after the candlelight vigil, the police and the prosecution had abused the article to prosecute the people sending messages or posting writings on the Internet criticizing the government. The article was also applied to the so-called ‘Minerva’ case.*  Many citizens including the teenagers were prosecuted for sending the text messages to their friends for fun when the Cheonan incident and the Yeonpyeong island incident happened. Moreover, the Korea Communications Commission sought a way to delete the postings from the portal sites as soon as the government indicated them as ‘false information’, which brought public criticism. The Lee government, eventually, had made an attempt to censor the opinions different from or opposite to the government’s. The postings assumed as ‘facts’ but different from the government’s position and the ‘opinions’ different from the government’s status had been deleted and prosecuted for ‘defamation’ or a violation of the ‘National Security Law’.

The ruling of the Constitutional Court today confirms that the government’s attempt is  violation of the freedom of expression. Lots of citizens have suffered and cannot be compensated with anything, but this is an opportunity to correct the wrong law. For this reason, we demand the following.

First, the Lee government should instantly apologize torturing and exercising  censorship on people based on ‘spreading false information’ so far.
Second, the government and the National Assembly should abolish this law without  deception.
Third, the police and the prosecution should immediately stop every criminal prosecution for ‘spreading false information’.
Fourth, the Korea Communications Commission and the government should not make any attempt to restrict the freedom of expression under the name of ‘spreading false information’ or by any other regulations.


28 December 2010
The Center for Media Responsibility and Human Rights
The Progressive Networks Center
The People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy

*Minerva is Internet disputant Park De-sung’s nickname. He was arrested in chrage of speading false information criticizing the FX rate policies by the government in 2009.  

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