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

Fred Bauder fredbaud at fairpoint.net
Wed Dec 22 10:51:26 UTC 2010

An example of an actual prosecution:



> This seems to be an example of the trouble that the Wikipedia:Biographies
> of living persons policy on the English Wikipedia is crafted to avoid,
> unsourced or poorly sourced negative information about a living person
> can be removed immediately by any editor. Here, if I'm reading right, it
> was put back up again despite being repeatedly removed.
> Another aspect of this is that if there is a law around, even a disused,
> rarely enforced law, the possibility exists that someone will evoke it
> and put you into court with baleful consequences, even if you "win" in
> the end. For example in Colorado there is a criminal libel law that
> covers the dead, see
> https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Defamation#Criminal_defamation
> How one could fully comply with such a monstrosity as that is beyond me.
> Fred
> User:Fred Bauder
>> 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
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