On August 12, 2019, a Korean rapper who goes by the name of Black Nut was sentenced to 6 months in jail and two years of probation for insulting a fellow rapper in the lyrics to a rap song. Open Net finds the ruling deeply concerning in that it may open up the door to more artists being criminally prosecuted for exercising their freedom of expression through art.
Criminal insult laws, along with truth defamation laws, have been used in our society by those in power to stifle the voices of dissenters. Open Net has been openly critical of politicians’ misuse of such laws and have provided legal aid to those that faced criminal prosecution for speaking out against politicians.
Criminal insult laws rely on one’s subjective feeling of worth. The application of criminal insult laws may influence artists’ ability to create art. Hip hop artists within Korea will now feel the need to go through self-censorship before they release diss tracks.
For more information, please read the Korean original here.