Telecom authorities plan to censor social networking services and mobile apps starting as early as next Wednesday, the Korea Communications Committee said Thursday.
A review committee at the state-run telecom regulator on Thursday discussed a revised bill to set up a new team responsible for examining offensive and immoral content in new media.
The revision also contains separate teams to monitor terrestrial radio stations and general programming channels that were newly launched on Thursday.
However, online users and civic groups have protested the revision, saying the new team means the revival of government censorship of freedom of speech.
They have claimed that SNS are personal mediums for communication that cannot be censored, while the influence of mobile apps is very limited thus far.
They also said the new team is targeting “Naneun Kkomsuda,” or more affectionately “Nakkomsu,” a weekly podcast critical of President Lee Myung-bak and other conservative politicians.
“The restructuring is aimed at streamlining the efficiency of each team and their work. It is not politically intended,” said an official of the committee.
“Because SNS and apps are information, not broadcasting, their objectivity or fairness it not the subject for monitoring. Political comments would be judged by the election committee.”
By Lee Ji-yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org