Celebrity’s death resurrects debate about Internet postings

Some say regulation is needed to curb negative comments, while others say regulations could limit freedom of expression

Korea is seeing a replay of the “vicious comments” debate, in response to reports Choi Jin-sil told people close to her before committing suicide that she was psychologically distressed over rumors circulating on the Internet that she was involved in personal loans that led actor Ahn Jae-hwan to commit suicide. The debate is largely between people on one side who think that the “passive-aggressive accomplices” who have been posting vicious rumors about Choi on the Internet need to “reflect on their ways,” and others, who say overemphasizing the role of a small number of akpeulleo (“people who post vicious rumors”) could lead to limits on the freedom of expression. Akpeul is a newly coined word consisting of ak, meaning bad, and part of the English word “ripple.”

As of October 3, bulletin boards at various online communities are busy with calls for introspection on the part of the country’s netizens.

At the “Agora” BBS on the portal site Daum, a poster using the ID “icheon” said “vicious comments are killing people because there is no internal system for verification.”

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