According to data presented by the Ministry of Justice per National Assembly member Park Jumin’s request, reported cases of accusations for criminal insult and defamation quadrupled from 22,777 in 2010 to 79,910 in 2020.
In contrast, the number of cases that led to actual indictments stayed relatively consistent with around 7,000 to 12,000 cases annually, or about 11,000 on average.
This shows the extent to which criminal insult and defamation laws are used to quell personal disputes. Excessive criminal regulation on speech not only puts freedom of speech at risk but also places close to 80,000 citizens at risk of criminal investigation and draws limited investigative resources from more pressing matters. It is high time criminal insult and defamation laws are reexamined.
Multiple legislative amendments to address this problem are currently tied up at the National Assembly. (Legislation number 2112050, 211249, 2111649, 2108530, 2109360). Open Net calls on the National Assembly to swiftly pass legislation to address these problems and protect freedom of speech on par with international human rights standards.
Available for download: Criminal Insult and Defamation Cases 2010-2020