Cyber defamation is not a specific criminal offense, misdemeanor or tort, but rather defamation or slander conducted via digital media, usually through the Internet.

Penalties for "cyber defamation" vary from country to country, but the fundamental rights covered in the UN Declaration of Human Rights and European Union Fundamental Human Rights.[10]

Stopping or addressing defamation can be difficult. If the person has no serious grudge, then a cease and desist letter may stop the behavior and get the statements removed from the Internet. On the other hand, if the person is acting out of spite, it may be necessary to file a report with the police depending on local law.

South Korea

The cyber defamation law that the Korean government pursues allows police to crack down on hateful comments without any reports from victims. The only country where such cyber defamation law is being implemented is China. South Korea is the first democratic country in the process of introducing the law.[11]

The Korea Communications Commission (KCC), South Korea's telecommunications and broadcasting regulator, has been considering revising the current Telecommunications Law and put more regulations and deeper scrutiny on major Internet portals.[12]


There have been talks about introducing the stricter laws in cyberspace. A famous celebrity's suicide in South Korea,[13][14] triggered the controversies once again as to whether such law is necessary. The law supported by the governing Grand National Party (GNP), if implemented, will allow police to investigate the cyber defamation cases without any complaints of the victims. The opposition Democratic Party has been against the introduction of such law.[15]

Advocate views

  • The current laws have failed to prevent the number of the victims from increasing at an escalating rate.
  • Freedom of speech comes with responsibility.
  • Because information and rumors can travel in a matter of seconds across the Internet, cyber-bullying and cyber defamation could take a significant toll on each victim without such strict regulations by authorities.

Opposing views

  • There are already ways to regulate the cyberspace with the current laws.
  • It is potentially possible for the law to be exploited by authorities in an attempt to crack down on people who express opposite views.
  • Such law might cause a harmful effect on freedom of speech.
  • "Defamation" is too ambiguous to be defined by a third party, other than the victims.


A Research & Research survey of 800 Korean people conducted on Jan. 14, 2009 showed that 60% supported the GNP-led bill dealing with cyber defamation, and 32.1% opposed it.[16]

Celebrities' suicide

Some Korean celebrities have suffered from severe depression, caused in part by malicious online comments, before committing suicide.

See also