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46 Pct. of Big Companies Suffer Extortion From News Sites

46 Pct. of Big Companies Suffer Extortion From News Sites

Posted November. 08, 2010 10:56,   


An Internet news site is known to have blackmailed a distribution company into running ads in return for the site not posting a negative article about the business.

After the company refused, the negative article appeared on a major Internet portal though it was based solely on rumors. The company demanded that the site post a correction but finally ran ads after the daily demanded “sponsorship money.”

The economic public relations association of the Federation of Korean Industries found in a recent survey that large companies are often blackmailed by Internet news sites that fail to meet basic standards of journalism. All 427 member companies of the federation were polled.

Forty-six percent of the 342 companies who responded said they were victimized by Internet news sites. Based on the survey’s results, the association proposed setting up an ethics committee for Internet news sites.

On problems with such sites, 43 percent of the companies cited “lack of reliability” while 37 percent said “sensational headlines that mislead readers.” Other complaints included “insufficient quantity of original news articles” and “offers of deals on articles.”

Just 3 percent of the companies said they took legal action against extortion attempts by the sites. A little more than half of the companies cited inefficient litigation procedures and the low possibility of victory, while another 43 percent cited the fear of “revenge attacks” by Internet news media through malicious stories against the companies.

Last year, an Internet news site posted a photo of female workers at a department store eating sweet potatoes but added a suggestive headline to elicit more attention. The store, one of the country’s top retail businesses, failed to protest for fear of revenge by the site.

The number of Internet news sites in Korea was 1,698 last year.

Some 84 percent of the companies complained of “too many” Internet newspapers, while just 13 percent said the number was “appropriate” or “too few.”

On the impact of the growing number of Internet news sites on corporate management, 67.1 percent were negative, citing a rise in the number of stories groundlessly criticizing businesses or increased pressure to spend on advertising.