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Online protests of
new Korean censorship plan

What do you if the government tries to censor the Internet? Try organizing a really big online sit-in.

That is apparently what happened in South Korea. The Korean Information and Communications Ministry has proposed a ratings system that would force web site creators to label themselves if their materials could somehow be considered harmful to teenagers. A Ministry spokesperson explained that once the ratings system was implemented, troublesome websites could then be blocked off. The agency intends to submit this bill to the National Assembly within the next few months, and the entire system could be up and running by the middle of next year.

Critics have scoffed at this scheme, claiming that it would amount to de facto government censorship. Chang Yeo-kyong from Internet rights group Progressive Network noted that these "so-called voluntary ratings will be reviewed by a government committee, which suggests government's coercive control over the Internet." Hundreds of enraged Internet users simultaneously visited the Ministry's home page and disrupted service for hours, apparently as part of massive "click-in" protest. Against this backdrop, numerous politicians from the Korean Democratic Labor Party will oppose the bill when the Assembly begins considering the proposal this fall.

See "Net users block site to protest rating system," Associated Press, August 29, 2000, at