Photo: Constitutional Court of the Republic of Korea. Credit: Wikipedia commons.
The Constitutional Court 헌법재판소 held for the first time that Article 307(1) of the Criminal Act 형법, which penalizes defamation by publication of facts 사실적시명예훼손, was constitutional. The crime of defamation-by-facts has been criticized for potentially infringing upon freedom of speech, and for being used as a tool to silence whistleblowers.
In a 5-4 decision rendered on February 25, the court found that there was an ever greater need to defend one’s reputation due to the internet and social media, and the broad ambit of the exceptions made for statements in the public interest was enough to protect the freedom of speech.