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Korea: Minerva and Release after 100-Days Detention

A blogger who is known by his pseudonym, Minerva, was released after 100 days detention. His 280 postings criticizing economic policies of the new Korean government and predicting economy downturn have become hugely popular due to the accurate diagnosis.

He was arrested by the prosecution authority under the name of spreading false information and of causing economic damage. Since his arrest, netizens and citizen organizations criticize the action of the government and worry the episode indicates the beginning of the suppression of freedom of speech. His release (the prosecution authority is preparing to file an appeal) has produced many opinions on the Internet.


[…]미네르바의 글을 다는 읽지는 않았지만 그가 잡혀들어가야 하는 이유를 전혀 찾아 볼 수가 없다. 검찰 측의 입장은 있지도 않은 사실을 허위로 작성하여 유포시킨 죄가 성립된다고 하는데 누리꾼들의 대부분이 미네르바의 글을 읽으며 공감을 했고 또 한국의 경제상황을 누구보다 미리 예측하였던 것이 어떻게 ‘있지도 않은 사실을 허위로 작성하여 유포시킨’ 것으로 일단락시킬 수 있는 것인가. 만약 저 부분이 미네르바의 잘못이라면 한국의 경제를 예측한 것을 책으로 써서 서점에 유포시킨 대부분의 경제학자들에게도 똑같이 적용시킬 수 있는 대목이다. 그러나 과연 그럴까. 이번 사건은 단순히 익명성이라는 문제를 부각시킨 정부의 힘의 논리였다. 인터넷 상에서 익명성을 제거하기 위해 한 사람을 ‘마녀사냥’ 한 것에 지나지 않는 것이다.[…]

[…]I haven’t read everything that he wrote, but I don’t understand why he was arrested. The prosecution authority said that he spread falses. However, netizens understood what he wrote and agreed with this writings. That he predicted the economic situation earlier than anyone else can’t be regarded as false. If it was his crime, economists who pulished their books predicting the economy should be all arrested. The government just wanted to bring anonimity of the Internet into the issue. On the Internet, they would like to get rid of anonimity and for that they started ‘witch hunting.’[…]


[…]처음 글이 올라올때까지만 해도 미네르바는 단순히 자신의 추측을 인터넷에 올린 그저 많은 포털 사용자 중 한 명일 뿐이었습니다. 미네르바에 관심이 증폭된 것은 미네르바가 구속된 사건이었습니다. 사건의 중심에 있었던 것은 미네르바가 정확한 추측이 정부에 영향을 미쳤느냐와 허위사실 유포가 맞느냐라는 것입니다. 그런데 이런 논의에 의해 오랜시간 의견이 분리되고 흥분되어 있을 쯤에 누리꾼들의 관심은 정부에서 내세운 죄목보다는 이번 사건이 인터넷 포털 사용자에 대한 MB정부의 탄압에 더 중요한 이슈였습니다.

인터넷이라는 자유를 인정받던 공간에 올린 글 때문에 구속이 되는 어처구니 없는 일이 벌어진 것 때문이지, 미네르바 글의 진실성 때문도 아니고 그렇다고 미네르바가 대단하거나 인터넷 이용자를 대변하는 사람이였기 때문은 더더욱 아니였습니다. 그가 경제 대통령으로 불린 것 또한 우리 경제의 문제점을 정확히 짚고 대책을 내놓아서가 아니라 경제희생 기대에 출범한 MB정부에 대한 실망에 맞물린 역효과의 수혜를 입은 것 외에 더 높게 평가 받을 이유는 없어 보입니다.

이번 미네르바 사건이 우리에게 주는 교육은 극히 당연한 것입니다. 자유롭게 말할 수 있는 권리 인정과 보장!!! 그외에 더 큰 의미는 없습니다.[…]

[…]When his writing was first introduced, Minerva was one of the netizens who was usually putting posts about their opinions. When he was arrested, attention to him became huge. The issue was whether predictions that Minerva made correctly affected the government and whether those are regarded as spreading false information. While these issues have been generating many opinions and arguments, what netizens have been interested in is whether this action can be regarded as the suppression by the MB government of Internet users.

Due to writings in a space that has had freedom, the Internet, he was arrested and this illogical action made us angry. Whether his writing was true or not and whether he is our hero or not are not the main points. The reason why he is nicknamed as the Economy President is not because he pointed out economic problems and suggested solutions, but because people were dissapointed at the MB government that had expection of developing economy (Lee Myung-Bak called himself the Economy President during the President Campaign).

What we learned from this ‘Minerva Scandal’ is very simple. Acknowledging and providing rights of freedom of speech!!! Nothing else.[…]

3: A netizen introduced how Japanese netizens have reacted,

[…]눈에 띄는 기사가 몇가지 있었는데 바로 몇일전 “미네르바 무죄”와 관련된 기사였습니다. 기사는 한국의 기사와 별반 다를것이 없었는데 기사 밑에 달린 일본 네티즌들의 반응 이었습니다. 역시나 한국 네티즌들의 반응과도 크게 다르지 않았습니다. 이는 비단 한국과 일본 뿐 아니라 이 기사를 접한 대다수 나라의 네티즌들도 같을 것입니다.

[…]There were several interesting news and one of them was about “innocence of Minerva.” Those reports in Japan were so much different from those in Korea. Japanese netizens’ reactions were not so much different from Koreans. I am sure that netizens in other countries have similar opinions.

[…]무죄는 당연! 왜, 사실을 말해 재판받지 않으면 안 되는 것인지? 게다가, 아마추어의 예측이 한국 정부나 한국 씽크탱크의 예측보다 올바랐던 것이 아닌가?

전체주의 국가는 곤란하다…

죄가 되면 그야말로 비자유주의.

재판관이 상식을 가지고 있었던 일에 놀랐다

언론 탄압인가? 일본의 매스컴도 썩고 있지만요.

한국의 검찰은 바보?

일부러 재판까지 일으켜~나라가 한 명의 네티즌이 그렇게 무서운 것입니까?

이것으로 유죄가 되면, 경제계의 블로그는 쓸 수 없지 않을까?

아직 착실한 재판소가 있어 좋았다.[…]

Innocence is fair! Why did he have to be in the court because he said the truth? Were his predictions more accurate than the Korean government and think-tanks? Totalitarian country is not good…

If he was guilty, it was illiberalism.

I am surprised that the judges were logical.

[…]Isn’t it the suppresion of the press? The Japanese media is also corrupt.

Is the Korean prosecutory authority stupid?

Even having trial… was the country scared of one netizen that much?

If he was guilty, would nobody write about the economy in their blogs?

It’s good that there are still upright judges.

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