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‘Extreme restriction to freedom of knowledge’: UN urges South Korea to amend invoice that penalizes ‘faux information’

‘Severe restriction to freedom of information’: UN urges South Korea to amend bill that penalizes ‘fake news’

The UN’s prime media-rights official has warned that South Korea’s “disproportionate” anti-fake-news invoice undermines the liberty of journalists and can impose self-censorship on the press.

Irene Khan, UN Particular Rapporteur on the promotion and safety of freedom of opinion and expression, despatched a letter to the South Korean authorities urging it to amend the media invoice at present being debated within the nation’s parliament.

If handed as written, the invoice “might severely limit the rights to freedom of knowledge and of expression of the media,” Khan wrote, calling the laws “totally disproportionate.”

Underneath worldwide human rights legislation, the prohibition of false info will not be in itself a official goal to limit freedom of expression.

The invoice might “lead to self-censorship by the media,” the UN official wrote. She urged Seoul to respect the 1954 Worldwide Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, signed by South Korea in 1990. 

The invoice, pushed by the ruling Democratic Celebration of Korea (DPK), seeks to make media retailers answerable for main punitive damages in the event that they intentionally publish false info or act in a “grossly negligent” method.

DPK officers argue the change is required to guard people and the general public from malicious disinformation. They deliberate to go the invoice on Monday, however postponed the vote to September 27 resulting from backlash from the opposition, home and worldwide media rights teams.

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The proposed invoice will “seemingly lead on to media management and infringement of freedom of speech, removed from injury reduction,” South Korea’s 4 main journalist unions mentioned in a joint assertion.

In a equally worded assertion, the Worldwide Federation of Journalists (IFJ) mentioned that “by creating undue penalties for incorrect reporting, this invoice threatens to create a local weather of concern amongst Korean journalists.”

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