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Readers’ voice

On the NSL ...

In a democratic society, a government shouldn’t be in the business of patrolling people’s ideologies and belief systems. Isn’t that what free speech is all about?

― Holly Hamilton, Gunpo, via Facebook

On Internet censorship ...

Teacher A: “How is the student in Class 6 when you teach class? He is not improving even though I’ve told him to pay better attention many times.”

Teacher B: “It’s the same in my class, too.”

If the above dialogue occurs on a Social Network Service like Twitter or Facebook, your SNS account could be blocked. The Korean Broadcasting Commission announced that it would reinforce the right to deliberate over some content including pornography, whispering campaigns, defamation, cyber-stalking, hacking, violations of the Youth Protection Act, gambling and violations of the National Security Act. It also announced that it will demand the deletion of content first, and if that demand is not met, it can block the account. Thus, since the above tweet could be considered defamation of the student in Class 6, the teacher’s Twitter account could be blocked according to the commission’s decision.

SNS is like chatting with a friend sitting next to you. If a country polices personal chatting, and can call for the deletion of an account or block an instant messaging service, it is a blatant violation of one of the principles of democracy, namely, freedom of speech.

In March, 2011, the commission stated that SNS is a territory of the private sector, and that SNS is not included in the real-name system on the Internet. Then it announced that 115 sites, which have more than 100,000 visitors per day, should be applied to the real-name system on the Internet. The commission’s change of position regarding this issue is troubling, to say the least.

The South Korean government is attempting to prevent people from chatting freely. How can teachers teach that Korea is a democratic country?

― Lee Byung-rok, executive director of the information communication department, Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union
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