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 postings (more…)