Korea has a history of regulating internet postings beginning with the first internet regulation ever created – entitled the Telecommunications Business Act (TBA). The TBA was enacted over 20 years.
The TBA created a regulatory body called the Internet Communications Ethics Committee (ICEC) which was charged with monitoring internet activity and making recommendations for removal of content, and could even pursue criminal prosecutions against persons who made “unlawful statements” via the internet.
The ICEC could also block foreign websites and did so regularly. ICEC’s criteria were the basis for the Ministry of Information and Communications formally enactment of an Internet content rating system.
- “subversive communication”
- “materials harmful to minors”
- “cyber defamation”
- “sexual violence”
- “cyber stalking;” and
- “pornography and nudity”
In 2008, the Korean government created the Korea Communications Standards Commission (KCSC), which is its notes “stands to ensure the public responsibility and fairness of broadcast contents while cultivating a culture of safe internet communications through which safe and useful information is readily accessed.”
The KCSC has the power to order internet service providers to block access to content it finds to fall within the categories discussed earlier. In 2014, the KCSC deleted about 23,000 Korean webpages, and blocked another 63,000 sites. It also has the power to suspend or delete any web posting or articles for 30 days after a complaint is filed.
With such a rigorous regulatory framework and multiple levels of review, reports from YTN that police in the Namyangju district of Gyeonggi Province told a blogger – without prior authorization from the appropriate agency to delete postings does not seem in line what law and we suspect that the appropriate agencies may make their opinions heard on this issue very soon.
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