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Comments on university bulletin board lead to legal mudslinging

Comments on university bulletin board lead to legal mudslinging

Posted October. 10, 2013 07:07,   


A student (Student A) at Seoul National University once saw a news article on the Internet in June of an interview with Kim Hyeon-jeong, 25, an artist and an oriental painting student at the Graduate School of Fine Arts at Seoul National University.

Kim had become famous because of her new attempts using the collage technique as well as her outstanding appearance. Student A re-posted the article on SNU Life, the university`s online bulletin board for students, adding a comment that Kim was "pretty."

Another student of fine arts at the university (Student B) left a comment about her graduation exhibition on the theme of faux-naif. Student C also left a comment criticizing Kim`s works.

In August, Kim filed libels suits against Student A and 10 others who left comments about her. Kim first went to a police station in southern Seoul to file the suit, only to be recommended by an officer to seek reconciliation with them. Kim then took the case to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors` Office. An investigation started, and many Seoul National University students and 10 graduates were questioned by the police.

Kim also demanded that the operators of SNU Life delete all the comments criticizing her. After the police seized the server of the bulletin board, users of SNU Life smoldered with anger.

The plaintiffs told the Dong-A Ilbo that Kim "terrorized" them to scare students and that they would hire a lawyer to bring a counter action against her.

The controversy spread to the SNU Life operators. Despite their promise not to store students` personal information except their IDs and passwords, it was disclosed during the process of the investigation that the server stored users` names and student numbers.