Freedom of speech under attack in SK?

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  • #1
mjsd
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intriguing reports about
A popular South Korean blogger arrested on accusations of posting false economic information on the Internet has been denied bail, his lawyer said Friday.

The 31-year-old blogger, who went by the handle "Minerva" after the Greek goddess of wisdom, rocketed to fame in South Korea for his startlingly accurate predictions about the economy, including the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

But prosecutors said he went too far in saying on an online discussion site that the government had banned major financial institutions and trade businesses from purchasing U.S. dollars in an apparent move to shore up the local currency, calling it inaccurate information that disrupted the foreign exchange market.

His arrest last week ignited a debate about freedom of speech in cyberspace in South Korea, one of the world's most wired and tech-savvy nations.
source:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/as_skorea_blogger_arrested [Broken]

see also for other details on the case:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-korea-minerva16-2009jan16,0,5129219.story


What amazes me is that, when a little known unemployed (self-taught) guy who doesn't even have a uni degree can cause so much stir because he made a few accurate predictions...

I guess if your job is an economist, then you better not make any accurate predictions eh?

Is this internet censorship gone made? I know it happens a lot in places like China, BUT this does not supposed to happen in the rest of the "free world", or does it?

I hope I won't get arrested just by posting this. :frown:
 
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  • #2
BobG
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Making accurate or inaccurate predictions is exercising freedom of speech.

Posting false information about the past is spreading lies.

It was saying that the govenrment had banned major financial institutions and trade businesses from purchasing U.S. dollars in an apparent move to shore up the local currency that got him into trouble. (Of course, it's always possible that it's the government that's lying and they're jailing him to suppress the truth, but, in that case, they're probably lying about him just being an unemployed guy that studied economics on his own.)

Deliberately posting inaccurate information to manipulate stock prices is as illegal as insider trading. We had a local politician's son pull the same deal. He would give stock advice on a website and, once in a while, would puff up a stock out of the blue or trash a stock out of the blue and he and his partners would cash in. He'd also give his mom some hot tips ahead of time, even though she might not have known what he was doing. He went to jail. She managed to survive politically, but just barely.
 
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drizzle
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I hope I won't get arrested just by posting this. :frown:
is it possible??:bugeye:.......... guess what :devil::biggrin:
 
  • #4
mjsd
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Making accurate or inaccurate predictions is exercising freedom of speech.

Posting false information about the past is spreading lies.

It was saying that the govenrment had banned major financial institutions and trade businesses from purchasing U.S. dollars in an apparent move to shore up the local currency that got him into trouble. (Of course, it's always possible that it's the government that's lying and they're jailing him to suppress the truth, but, in that case, they're probably lying about him just being an unemployed guy that studied economics on his own.)

Deliberately posting inaccurate information to manipulate stock prices is as illegal as insider trading. We had a local politician's son pull the same deal.
That's different. Those ppl directly profited from the scam. If they didn't profit or no one was harm, I don't see why that's illegal if they just spread their "info" not as the capacity of a politician (or someone with powers/respect) but just a normal blogger. It remains to be seen if the SK blogger profited in any way.

If the SK govt is correct about this dude's background, then arresting him become even more ridiculuous. I mean, there are millions of people, politicians, activists spreading their opinions, conspiracy theories, lies/truth (intentionally or otherwise) everyday. Should we arrest them all? Most noticeably, should we arrest those who keep making docomentaries (ie. money) or otherwise blogging about the 9/11 conspiracy, for example?

This is an interesting case, I think, because it may be the next stage of a very strict censorship of the internet. Oh,... Disclaimer: this is just a guess... NOT trying to deliberately spreading lies about internet censorship! :smile:
 
  • #5
BobG
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That's different. Those ppl directly profited from the scam. If they didn't profit or no one was harm, I don't see why that's illegal if they just spread their "info" not as the capacity of a politician (or someone with powers/respect) but just a normal blogger. It remains to be seen if the SK blogger profited in any way.

If the SK govt is correct about this dude's background, then arresting him become even more ridiculuous. I mean, there are millions of people, politicians, activists spreading their opinions, conspiracy theories, lies/truth (intentionally or otherwise) everyday. Should we arrest them all? Most noticeably, should we arrest those who keep making docomentaries (ie. money) or otherwise blogging about the 9/11 conspiracy, for example?

This is an interesting case, I think, because it may be the next stage of a very strict censorship of the internet. Oh,... Disclaimer: this is just a guess... NOT trying to deliberately spreading lies about internet censorship! :smile:
The issue about internet censorship in SK is a valid issue, but I have a hard time seeing Park Dae-sung's case being related to censorship:

Prosecutors counter that the government needs to bring more accountability to Internet postings.

Last year a well-known actress committed suicide after what police called an act of cyber-terrorism. Choi Jin-sil hanged herself amid a barrage of postings claiming that she had lent large amounts of money to an actor who took his own life.

Park Chan-jong, a former National Assembly member who is representing Park Dae-sung, said the two cases were different because his client was merely expressing his opinion and was not engaged in personal attacks.

Debate over the two cases comes as government officials are pushing to introduce new clauses in communication laws to enforce harsher punishment for cyber-insults. The country also is preparing to broaden a law that requires Internet service providers to confirm social security numbers and the real names of users.
I don't know enough about South Korean culture to judge either case. I find it strange that South Koreans would use the excuse that alledgedly false rumors about government/banking financial policy isn't as serious a flaming someone on the internet. In the US, killing yourself over a cyberspace insult would be considered a huge over reaction to something pretty trivial.

I also don't know whether the info he was posting was true or false, what his source for the info was, or whether he was profiting or not from some kind of scam. On the surface, it's certainly reasonable to believe the charges against could be valid, even if there's an equal chance he could be innocent of the charges. In today's world, information is as important as currency and intentionally spreading false information to manipulate markets is the equivalent of counterfeiting currency.

Maybe there's a relationship to Park Dae-sung's case and internet censorship, but I just don't see it unless his rumors are true and the government just doesn't want that info to be revealed publicly.
 
  • #6
mjsd
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The issue about internet censorship in SK is a valid issue, but I have a hard time seeing Park Dae-sung's case being related to censorship:
..........
I also don't know whether the info he was posting was true or false, what his source for the info was, or whether he was profiting or not from some kind of scam. On the surface, it's certainly reasonable to believe the charges against could be valid, even if there's an equal chance he could be innocent of the charges. In today's world, information is as important as currency and intentionally spreading false information to manipulate markets is the equivalent of counterfeiting currency.
........
Maybe there's a relationship to Park Dae-sung's case and internet censorship, but I just don't see it unless his rumors are true........
Interesting perspective BobG. But I certainly didn't see it that way. My initial reaction was that should there be only a handful of ppl believed in his advices and hence no significant market movement as a result, I don't even think the SK govt. would have bothered with him at all. So, it seems to me that it was the effect (he has a cult following) and not the cause (ie. the crime of spreading "lies" itself) that really concerned them. Don't you think?

Of course, we will have no way of finding out who was lying or whether it was deliberate (another key ingredient). Perhaps the SK govt. would also want this case to go public to serve as a warning for other ppl....? :rolleyes:
 

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