[Foundation-l] Korean Wikipedians charged with "criminal defamation:" a potential threat of censorship

Puzzlet Chung puzzlet at gmail.com
Wed Dec 22 04:56:59 UTC 2010

At most four Korean Wikipedians are charged with defamation of Song
Young-gil, the Mayor of Incheon Metropolitan City.

According to the contributors, the prosecution is upon the Song's own
request, and is going to be over publicizing a fabricated sex scandal
in the article about him and (semi-)protecting it.  The text in
question is merely a sum-up of various reports about the speculations
eventually found to be a hoax.  Non-logged-in user(s) from various IP
addresses have tried to remove the whole controversy section,
including not only the scandal but other arguments about him,
replacing it with personal contrary comments and legal threats.  The
edits are consequently reverted by some users and rollbacked by one
administrator.  The admin, [[ko:User:Kys951]], is also accused of
being an abettor just because he is an admin.

In the South Korean legal system, criminal defamation is partially a
"crime upon complaint," (친고죄/親告罪) which becomes irrelevant to be a
crime when the complainant chose to withdraw the case.  (Note that I'm
not a specialist of law, especially in English terminology.)  The
police of Southeastern Incheon thought the case itself is too
insignificant to be a criminal case and tried to persuade him to
withdraw it, only to be declined.

Song has reportedly demanded the admin to remove the paragraph in
exchange for fixing the charge, which is definitely not the way how
Wikipedia works.

Another concern about this incident is that this could happen to every
bit of contribution to the project.  South Korean government had been
censoring any scribble on the web they think beneficial to North
Korea,[2] and for later on, anything they think "fraudulent" whenever
the state is in "threat," according to an exclusive report.[3]

[1] https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ko/w/index.php?title=%EC%86%A1%EC%98%81%EA%B8%B8&diff=5832689
[2] http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/shame_on_democratic_south_korea_for_censoring_face.php
[3] http://www.hani.co.kr/arti/economy/it/455022.html

More information about the wikimedia-l mailing list