Korean Government Expresses Its Contempt For The Citizenry Again

Marmot’s Hole has a story up about its contempt for the people by banning parodies that might affect elections.

A Seoul court on Thursday fined a college student 1.5 million won for producing and spreading parodies through the Internet that aimed to defame certain candidates ahead of the April 15 general elections.

It is the first time in South Korea that a citizen has been punished for producing parody works on the Internet.

The 26-year-old student, identified by the surname Shin, was accused of creating and posting some 20 parody photos on the Internet that were considered unfair for some candidates from the Grand National Party.

“Shin deserves punishment because he tried to influence the elections through his parody works, although he contended he wanted to draw public participation into politics,” the Seoul Central District Court said in the ruling. Shin said he would appeal.

The ruling came amid a deepening controversy over the digitally-altered images of President Roh Moo-hyun and Grand National Party (GNP) leader Park Geun-hye that satirized their political ambitions and policies in a rude and obscene manner. Politicians, who often become the subject of political parodies, wanted to draw a clear line between the freedom of expression and the parodied works that they view go too far.

“Everyone has the right to express their opinions by creating works, including parody works, but Shin’s work passed a limit and tried to influence politics with the works for a certain party,” the ruling said.

Marmot said at the time of posting that he was still trying to understand the decision. My feeling i that perhaps there are several reasons behind this:

  1. There is a significant number of people who long for the “good old days” when strong dictatorial leaders “Got stuff done” in Korea. Maybe this in some small way mimics that, an an attempt to appeal to that segment of the population, which is probably growing as dissatisfaction with Roh grows?
  2. I think that there is a very real contempt for the citizenry, a sense that they are simpleminded and influenced easily.
  3. That these politicians are whiner babies and ought to grow up. I mean, pop stars get splashed on the newspapers with bullshit stories all the time; why not politicians? They are like the old man butting into line at the bus station: demanding respect and forbidding criticism of any kind that they dislike.

It’s sad, though. Once again the government is trying to limit freedom of expression and limit the way in which citizens can participate in their democracy.

To bad that couldn’t become an electoral issue. But then, has it really even become one in America? And America actually has a long history of defending those rights, stated as rights.

Anyway, read the whole article here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *