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Campaign law violations move from offline to online: watchdog

With South Korea digesting the results of its 19th presidential election, the election watchdog revealed Wednesday there were 297 cases of electoral law violations by participating campaigns, many of which took place online.

The figure is based on 94 legal accusations, 14 requests for investigation and other warnings and complaints filed up until the day of the election Tuesday.

The number is 24 percent lower compared to the previous presidential election in 2012, when 391 cases were monitored. The number blew up to 509 once the National Election Commission took after-election violations into account.

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

Accusations linked to campaign donations declined 56.4 percent to 17 cases, while use of illegal printed materials and facilities dropped 54.7 percent and 44.4 percent to 34 and 20 cases, respectively.

Use of slander and propaganda in campaigning plunged 74.3 percent to nine cases, and manipulation of campaign rallies came in 78.6 percent lower at six.

While other negative campaigning tactics were seemingly refrained this year, spreading of false information and fake news increased 33.3 percent to 70 cases, whereas only a single case was found during the previous election.

“The number of election law violations have reduced offline in public places on efforts to reform the law to guarantee freedom. However, it has become more frequent online through a surge in spread of fake news via social media,” said an NEC official.

The nation’s election watchdog added that there were 25 suspected campaign disruptions such as damage of election banners, ballot paper violations and illegally taking photos of the ballot.

Police launched probes of 956 alleged violators during the entire election season for disrupting the electoral process. Seven were indicted.

By Jung Min-kyung (mkjung@heraldcorp.com)
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