The Korea Herald

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Panel urges district to allow advertisements for gay rights

By Suk Gee-hyun

Published : June 23, 2013 - 20:48

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A state-run human rights organization advised Seoul’s Mapo District Office not to reject outdoor advertisements supporting gay rights, a small victory for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in the area.

The National Human Rights Commission of Korea handed down its decision last week, on the petition filed by the Mapo Rainbow Resident’s Solidarity against the Mapo office not allowing controversial outdoor banners it submitted last November.

The district officials notified the gay rights group that the phrases on the two banners ― “1 out of 10 people passing by here is a sexual minority” and “LGBT, we live here” ― may make the residents “uncomfortable and unpleasant.”

District chief Park Hong-sup, however, said the office was willing to accept the approval under the condition the group rephrases them with more “fact-based expressions.”

“That ‘1 out of 10 people is a sexual minority’ is quite exaggerated, and writing out what LGBT is was too direct,” the chief was quoted as saying in the written decision.

Despite the chief’s explanation, the NHRC stated that the Mapo office does not own rights to make an issue out of an advertisement’s content unless it is prohibited by law, based on the Outdoor Advertisement, etc. Control Act.

The NHRC also said the district’s office has seriously breached the freedom of expression, calling it “a discriminatory act of violating equal rights.”

By Suk Gee-hyun (monicasuk@heraldcorp.com)