[Law & Rule by Minhee Han] What are the legal implications of using social media?

In June, there was friction between Oh Jae-jae,토스카지노 a former baseball commentator for the Doosan Bears, and Yang Chang-seop, a pitcher for the Samsung Lions. At the time, SSG Landers’ Choi Jeong-jeong was hit by Yang’s pitch, sending him to the dugout. Former commentator Oh Jae-won claimed that Yang intentionally hit Choi.

An indirect argument ensued online. Yang first posted a Talmudic proverb on social media that could be seen as a criticism of Oh, and Oh responded with a Talmudic proverb of his own. Later, both coaches explained that it was not intentional, and mediation attempts were reportedly made, but were unsuccessful.

The controversy that seemed to have evolved recently continued. Oh Jae-won, who has since quit commentating, made accusations and used profanity during a live social media broadcast on March 23, referring to the incident with Yang Chang-seop.

It’s not uncommon for athletes to publicize conflicts and friction with other athletes or officials on social media and get into heated arguments. This is not the only case. Recently, a women’s volleyball player got into a dispute with another player by posting a message on social media. The other player threatened legal action.

Samsung’s Yang Chang-seop. Courtesy of Samsung

Posting words or videos on social media, including Instagram, is an area of free speech that should be respected. However, it is not always respected. The personality rights of others must also be protected, especially if the criticism and insults are not reasonable or in the public interest.

“The Criminal Code punishes defamation by stating a true fact, unless the act is in the public interest (Articles 307(1), 310), and more severely if the defamation is based on a false fact (Article 307(2)). Defamation by means of a newspaper, magazine, radio or other publication for the purpose of slandering a person shall be punished more severely than if such means were not used (Article 309). This is because the victim’s defamation is more likely to be disseminated. Insulting a person in a public way without providing verifiable facts is punishable as insult (Article 311).

The potential for dissemination and impact is much greater than through other means. However, considering the legal literature and the nature of the means, it is difficult to say that it is a publication.

As SNS is an information and communication network, the Act on Promotion of Information and Communication Network Utilization and Information Protection (abbreviated as the Information and Communication Network Act) defines it separately. If a person uses information and communication networks to publicly reveal facts or falsehoods for the purpose of slander, he or she will be punished more severely than under the Criminal Code (Article 70, paragraphs 1 and 2). Insults using information and communication networks will also be regulated as insults under the Criminal Code, as there is no separate regulation.

Oh Jae-won as a player. Jamsil Kim Min-kyu Reporter

The difference between the crimes of defamation and insult is that the contents of the expression are facts and opinions, respectively. Therefore, there is a big difference in ‘filing an indictment’, where a prosecutor files a criminal case. The crime of insult is a “pro se” crime (Article 312, paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code) that requires a complaint from the victim. It must be filed within six months of becoming aware of the offense (Article 230 of the Code of Criminal Procedure).

In contrast, defamation is a “semi-punishable offense” (Article 312, paragraph 2 of the Criminal Code) that cannot be prosecuted against the expressed will of the victim. A third party may file a complaint, but the prosecution cannot be brought against the victim’s expressed will. This is true even if the crime was committed using an information and communication network (Article 70, paragraph 3 of the Information and Communication Network Act).

Therefore, in this case, too, if the victim does not accuse you of insulting him or herself, you cannot file a public prosecution. If the accusation is made by a third party, you must confirm the victim’s intention to file a prosecution. This is why it’s difficult to actually file charges when fans report insults or defamation against celebrities or sports stars. It’s up to the victim to come forward.

They can use social media to say what they want to say or to vent their frustrations. However, it’s important to keep in mind that if this behavior turns into a slanderous, sniping war, everyone involved is liable. And while there are legal responsibilities, there is also a clear responsibility to the fans watching.

Minhee Han, Attorney at Law (44th Judicial Training Center)

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