With public emotion running high following the beheading of Kim Sun-il ― an incident that is fueling rallies to demand a halt to Korea’s troop deployments to Iraq ― the government is seeking ways to dampen passions by censoring possible Internet images of Mr. Kim’s murder.
The Ministry of Information and Communication announced yesterday that it would close or block access to any Web site showing images of Mr. Kim’s beheading, though it added that no such sites have yet been discovered.
An ethics committee within the ministry is monitoring the Internet around the clock; portals such as Yahoo and Empas have agreed to join the effort. The ministry has also requested that high-speed Internet service providers such as KT and Hanaro Communications prepare firewalls, in the event these kinds of sites appear.
“Under current laws, the ethics committee has the right to review sites containing violence or scenes of murder,” said ministry official Moon Ki-hwan. “Fortunately, [Arab broadcaster] Al Jazeera has said it would not broadcast cruel images, but we remain on alert.”
The ministry is especially concerned about an American Web site that posted an advertisement Wednesday requesting photographs or video clips of Mr. Kim’s murder. The site has previously posted images of Nicholas Berg, an American beheaded recently by Islamic militants.
The government’s measures can necessarily only extend as far as local service providers, but the ministry said “[Although] we cannot hold back all content, [our actions] could have a slight effect on easing the public trauma.”
JoongAng Daily. June 24, 2004
By Wohn Dong-hee