Suicide Prompts Uproar Over Cyber-Insults in S. Korea

Officials push for tougher punishments for 'cyber-terrorism'
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2008 2:18 PM CDT
Choi Jin-sil's suicide came as government officials are pushing to introduce new clauses in communication laws to enforce harsher punishment for cyber-insults.   (Shutter Stock)
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(Newser) – The suicide of a popular actress is prompting South Korean officials to get tough with “cyber-terrorists,” the Los Angeles Times reports. Choi Jin-sil hanged herself this month after Internet rumors blamed her for the death of a fellow actor. “People who inflict cyber-terrorism must pay the appropriate price,” said one lawmaker, as colleagues press for stiffer punishments.

“Our Internet culture is more violent and vicious than most other countries'," a professor told Newsweek. “People don't respect each other." But one advocate fears legislation will prevent people from criticizing the government, while others say South Korea’s low happiness rating is the real issue: "The new policy is like wielding a rod to stop people from speaking out their discontent."