Defamation on the Internet is a Criminal Offense in Korea

“Think before you click” is a social media campaign in Korea. Please note the truth is not an absolute defense to defamation in Korea. Additionally, defamation can lead to civil and criminal liability. The following article details Defamation Crimes and potential penalties. If you are interested to read more about defamation, please read our other articles at: Defamation on Trial and Definition of Defamation in Korea.

Defamation or Insult

The two primary laws that punish the crime of defamation committed orally, by means of traditional publication, or through the internet are the Criminal Act and Act on Promotion of Information and Communications Network Utilization and Information Protection, Etc.

Crimes of DefamationPenalty
(1) Person defames another by alleging facts in public
Article 307(1), Criminal Act
Imprisonment up to 2 years, with or without prison labor, or not more than 5 million won of fine
(2) Person defames another by alleging false facts in public
Article 307(2), Criminal Act
Imprisonment up to 5 years, not more than 10 years of suspension of qualifications, or not more than 10 million won
(3) Person defames another by alleging facts in public by means of a magazine, radio, or other publication
Article 309(1), Criminal Act
Imprisonment up to 3 years, with or without prison labor, or not more than 7 million won fine
(4) Person defames another by alleging facts in public by means of magazine, radio or other publication
Article 309(2), Criminal Act
Imprisonment up to 7 years, not more than 10 years of suspension of qualifications, not more than 15 million won of fine
(5) Person defames another by disclosing facts in public through an information and communications network purposely to disparage the other person’s reputation
Act on Promotion of Information and Communications
Imprisonment with labor up to 3 years, or not more than 30 million won of fine
(6) Person defames another by disclosing false facts in public through an information and communications network purposely to disparage the other person’s reputation
Act on Promotion of Information and Communications
Imprisonment with labor up to 7 years, not more than 10 years of suspension or not more than 50 million won of fine

Indeed, South Korea is one of the few democratic countries in the world wherein the truth is not a defense to a defamation lawsuit. As seen above, if someone utters facts in public no matter if the facts are true, you may be prosecuted for defamation with the, only exception being is the facts are true and facts were uttered for the sake of the interest of the pubic.

If you are interested in a discussion with an attorney in Korea, please schedule an initial free consultation with a Korean Lawyer at: Please Schedule a Call.

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