Internet Portals Including Yahoo! Korea Lost a Libel Suit for a Post on Their Websites

Are Internet portals liable for a defamation caused by articles posted on their web pages?

The Seoul High Court said Yes in a libel suit brought by a man who claimed to have been suffered from an article on Internet portals’ website allegedly saying he had made his ex-girlfriend die.  After the article appeared on-line, hundreds of Internet users identified him and moreover posted his photograph.

The Seoul High Court ordered four Korean major portals ― Naver, Daum, Cyworld and Yahoo! Korea ― to pay a total of 30 million won ($30,000) in compensation to the plaintiff.

The court found the major portals should be regarded as “semi-media” spreading information to unsuspecting persons, as they have rights to position news on the screen and invite tens of thousands of readers everyday.  The court ruled that Internet portals should decide whether the contents of a posting defame a person’s character and should either delete or block access to those postingsif they do, even if the person being targeted does not request that they be deleted.

This ruling is very meaningful because, unlikely other countries’ Internet portals, There are many Korean portals acting like “media” itself, not just staying as “newsstands”.  The court, by this ruling, emphasized such Internet portal’s responsibility for the information posted on their sites.

Here is a related news article.

© 2008 Wonil Chung, a Korean Media Lawyer/Chung & Partners, a Korean Media Law Firm.  All rights reserved. Some copyrights, photos, icons, trademarks, trade dress, or other commercial symbols that appear on this post are the property of the respective owners.

1 Comment

  1. If I write an opinion article for the Korea Herald and another individual writes an opinion piece using my name and criticizing my arguments does that constitute defamation?

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