These days, netizens who saw reporting on Sully’s death in the news keep saying that people should recognize the weight of their comments, and the government must pass the law of the real-name system. This is because of the sudden news report on the suicide of singer-actor Sully, also called Choi Jin-Lli. After s of Sully’s death, the media reported that bereaved family members and her manager said that she had been suffering from depression due to malicious comments by netizens. Given those facts, people connect her death to the malicious comments made on internet fan-sites.
Bullying or making malicious comments is a form of cyber-crime that slanders others or gossips about what the other person posted on the Internet. Malicious comments tend to lead to a vicious circle of hate and revenge due to the anonymity of netizens who make emotional, personal attacks rather than logical ones. Furthermore, sensationalist media reports fan the flames of celebrity scandals, leading to witch hunts among netizens. Consequently, like Sully, many have suffered from malicious comments.
The current sentencing law for cyberbulling in the country
[Article 70 of the Information and Communications Network Act (libel and slander)
① Those who defame others by openly revealing facts through information and communication networks with the aim of slandering people shall be sentenced to not more than three years in prison or fined 30 million won.
② Those who defame others by openly revealing false information through the information and communication network for the purpose of slander shall be sentenced to not more than seven years in prison, suspended for 10 years or fined not more than 50 million won.
However, the problem of malicious comments has not been solved, even though there is such a legal system is in place. Lee Young-dae, a lawyer, said that one of the reasons for the malicious comments is the anonymity of not being exposed and not being confronted by others. There are also factors like collectivism, individualism, social aspects, and crowd psychology to consider when evaluating a country’s legal system. Related to this, according to a survey conducted by the website Do It Survey, people hide behind their anonymity to express their anger or jealousy of the target.
In response to the problems related to anonymous posting, a growing number of people are requesting the introduction of the real-name system. One person uploaded a petition on The Blue House site, saying, "Please create a real name system-law named “choi jin li law” for the live like a human being, on October 15, 2019. 23,132 people agreed to sign this petition. The introduction of the Internet real-name system has been discussed since the early 2000s. However, it was thwarted by counterarguments that it could conflict with the "freedom of expression" issue and become a "censorship of the press." However, it has been mentioned again since Sully's tragic news.
As the malicious comments problems continued to intensify a survey about malicious comments and real-name system was conducted. .among Five 502 adults aged 19 or older nationwide on their perception of the introduction of the online comment real-name system on July 15, showing that 69.5 percent of the respondents were in favor, according to the Realmeter, which is a specialized agency for surveys. On the introduction of the online comment real-name system, the majority of people in almost all regions, age groups, ideological orientations and political party supporters voted for it.
Those who oppose the real-name system claim that it will restrict freedom of expression. They are also saying that due to the limitations of policies implemented in Korea, it will be of no use if the real-name authentication system is not applied on foreign websites such as Google, Instagram and YouTube. However, the previous surveys show that there are superior numbers of proponents of the Internet real-name system. Proponents say the Internet real-name system will be effective in preventing malicious comments. They also claim that they will be able to take responsibility for the delivery of information and minimize the spread of rumors.
According to a report by the Shina-Ilbo, Park Jae-yong,,a member of the National Assembly, proposed a revision to the "Act on Promotion of Information and Communications Network Utilization and Information Protection" on October 25. Also, Kakao ,the corperation who made Korea’s messenger Kakaotalk, announced that they will close the comments on the Daum site’s whole entertainment news starting this month. It said, “This is an effort to reduce the side effects of the comments, the venue of the public debate." In cases like these, in order to prevent malicious comments toward people, efforts by the government and businesses will be necessary as well as a change in people’s networking attitudes.