Posted at 12:28 PM ET, 02/02/2012

South Korean indicted for re-tweeting North Korean messages

The message “re-tweets are not endorsements” didn’t get through.


(Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)
South Korean prosecutors have indicted an opposition party member on charges that he re-tweeted messages from a North Korean government Twitter account, the Associated Press reports.

Park Jeong-geun was indicted under the National Security Law, which states that praising, sympathizing or cooperating with North Korea is a crime. Park maintains that he re-tweeted North Korean messages to lampoon their government.

Park’s Twitter account appears to no longer be active, but the account which he re-tweeted — North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea — can be found here and here.

Among Park’s re-tweets were messages that read “Long live Kim Jong-Il” and “Dear General Kim Jong-Il is the genius of the military and the symbol of victory who the entire world looks up to and follows.”

According to fellow socialist party member Kim Seung-il, Park has long been critical of North Korea’s government and never intended to express praise.

“It was humiliating and ludicrous to have to wear a straight face and explain all my jokes to the detectives,” Park told the New York Times. He faces up to seven years in jail if convicted.

Park, 23, runs a Seoul-based photo studio that specializes in taking pictures of babies.

Amnesty International has dubbed the government's action “ludicrous.”

Last month, The Post’s Chico Harlan reported that South Korea had begun policing the Internet in more aggressive ways, monitoring what its citizens said about their leaders, society and, in this case, their northern neighbor. Harlan wrote:

Officials here describe South Korea as a democracy in perpetual defense mode, needing special measures to maintain order on an ideologically divided peninsula — one that becomes even more volatile after North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s death.

The number of indictments under South Korea's anti-North Korean security law has reflected the stepped-up monitoring.

More than 150 people were questioned and 60 charged in 2010, up from 39 questioned and 36 charged in 2007, according to official data, the AP reports.

Na-Ggom-su,”a viral new online podcast that lampoons South Korea’s president and his party, has received threats and numerous lawsuits, according to Global Voices.

A South Korean government agency in December launched a team that monitors posts on Facebook and Twitter for illicit content.

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By  |  12:28 PM ET, 02/02/2012

Tags:  World, South Korea, North Korea, web censorship

 
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