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Police probe satirical edited video featuring President Yoon

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : Feb. 26, 2024 - 17:53

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Screenshots from a satirical edited video featuring President Yoon Suk Yeol (TikTok) Screenshots from a satirical edited video featuring President Yoon Suk Yeol (TikTok)

South Korean police on Monday said it has launched an investigation into a satirical edited video featuring President Yoon Suk Yeol, which shows him delivering a speech disparaging himself, which went viral last week.

Cho Ji-ho, the chief of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Station Agency, said in a press briefing that the police had acquired the ID of the person who appears to have uploaded the original video and begun an investigation on the person.

The ruling People Power Party filed a complaint against the video, accusing the uploader of "defamation by means of false information" under the Information and Communications Network Act.

Cho stressed that the investigation will be within the legal boundaries, addressing concerns over reports that the agency might press Public Official Election Act violation charges on the uploader. It was recently reported that the police is reviewing to see if uploading the video is in violation of the election law, with the general election slated for April 10.

A recent revision of the Public Official Election Act states that uploading deepfake videos to campaign for an election 90 days before it is illegal. This video was reported in local media to have been first posted on TikTok and Instagram in November last year.

"The police will not arbitrarily punish (the uploader). The investigation is within the range permitted by the court-issued warrant," Cho said.

The 46-second edited video of Yoon, titled “President Yoon’s Fictionalized Sincere Confession Speech,” featured the president denouncing himself for "enforcing laws that harass our nation" as well as "ruining the country and making its people suffer." It has turned out not to be a deepfake video as initially reported by some local media, but an edited version of one of Yoon's actual speeches during his presidential campaign in 2022.

The Korea Communications Standards Commission promptly deleted and blocked the video on Friday, on request of the police. It said the video was likely to mislead the public into thinking Yoon had made the remarks.