Status of Criminal Defamation/Insult in Korea (2015)

by | Nov 21, 2023 | Free Speech, Open Blog | 0 comments

*This is 2015 UN Human Rights Committee lobbying document

General Comment 34 of the Human Rights Committee (“GC34”) said “State Parties Shall Not Criminally Punish Statements that are True.” In Korea, many people are punished for true statements, e.g., a female worker truthfully protesting about her former employer’s workplace abuses. The list goes on.

GC 34 said “State Parties Shall Not Criminally Punish Statements Not Subject to Verification” à In Korea, close to 10,000 people1 are being punished for expressing their negative opinions and feelings annually where about 10% of them are being punished for insulting police officers. Thousands are being punished for expressing negative feelings and opinions toward election candidates.

GC 34 said “State Parties Shall Never Use Incarceration as Punishment for Defamation” à In Korea, about 50 people are incarcerated for defamation every year.

All these defamation laws make the perfect environment for abuse whereby the government uses criminal defamation/insult laws to suppress critics and dissent. Please see PSPD’s report for more. It is a great opportunity for Human Rights Committee to enforce international law as interpreted by GC 34.


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