A South Korean blogger is being prosecuted after using his website to warn of financial doom for his country. He is currently in jail
and has been refused bail.
Supporters of Park Dae-sung say he is the victim of censorship by a government upset of his gloomy forecasts.
Park, using the online pseudonym Minerva, has become a household name in the country for his predictions of sharp stock market falls.
Prosecutors accuse him of damaging the local currency by posting incorrect information online. In particular they reckoned he’d gone too far when he said the government, had banned major financial institutions and trade businesses from
purchasing U.S. dollars in an apparent move to shore up the local currency, calling it inaccurate information that disrupted the foreign exchange market, says the Associated Press.
An official at the prosecutors' office said: The suspect in this case was indicted on charges of false information on two occasions.
As South Korean markets tumbled late last year amid the global downturn, the main financial regulator warned it would crack down on what it considered malicious rumours.
Some economic analysts say they have come under pressure from authorities not to voice negative views on the economy.
Park, an unemployed 30-year-old man who faces up to five years in prison if he is found guilty of breaking communications laws.
A South Korean blogger in custody since January 7, charged with spreading false information online, should be set free, the Committee to Protect
Journalists have said.
The use of communication laws to imprison Park Dae-sung is a troubling step backward for democracy in South Korea. He should be released immediately, said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney: Expressing opinions about the economy online is not a
A South Korean blogger accused of spreading false information on the internet has walked free from court.
Park Dae-sung, better known as Minerva, built up a huge online following by making largely negative - and accurate - predictions on the economy.
Prosecutors said his brand of financial journalism was damaging to the public interest - but a Seoul court ruled there was no proof of malicious intent. He is now free to continue his blog.
Minerva served up some uncannily accurate online predictions, including the collapse of the US investment bank Lehman Brothers. He became a blogging sensation, with intense speculation about his true identity - a learned professor perhaps, or maybe an
experienced market trader? The authorities were less impressed, arguing that much of what he wrote was misleading and beginning to affect the money markets.
When they finally tracked him down in January they found the unemployed man picking up his financial know-how by surfing the web and reading mail-order text books.