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Left-wing Web Threats Foster ‘Online Anarchy’

Posted June. 24, 2008 03:12,   


Left-leaning Web users who threaten companies advertising in major dailies or instigate anti-government protests on the Internet are fostering “online anarchy” in defying institutional or legal authority.

They strongly resist rule of law designed to protect individuals from suffering damage from illegal online posts, saying authorities should not place restrictions on the free exchange of ideas online.

When Daum.net removed a post threatening a company placing ads in The Dong-A Ilbo from the online forum “Agora,” many users hurried to criticize the Web portal, with one saying, “Daum.net is asking for its own demise.”

Such a backlash by Web users is nothing new. Netizens in May blasted other portals that temporarily removed posts criticizing President Lee Myung-bak that had the potential to spread false information or commit libel. The users said the government was trying to customize media to suits its tastes.

Left-leaning media have also expressed support for such online users by opposing the protection of people’s rights or other illegalities online, urging not to put a gag on Internet media.

A representative of Nowcom.co.kr, the host of the Internet broadcast service Africa that aired anti-U.S. beef candlelight vigils online, was arrested on charges of illegal distribution of pirated movie files. Some users then demanded the arrest of all users who downloaded the files in question.

Professor Park Young-min of Paris 8 University in France said in a paper, “When the virtual world begins to exert great influence on the real world, the real world can no longer neglect disorder in the virtual world.”

Nonetheless, many criticize the Korean legal system for not doing enough to restore order in cyberspace.

A high-ranking member of the Korea Communications Standards Commission said, “Since portal sites do their part in forming public opinion, they must shoulder the same responsibility as newspapers and other media.”

“The law, however, does not require them to do so, which means it is time for us to establish new laws reflecting the needs of the changing times.”

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