South Korean Blogger Park Dae-sung (Minerva) Acquitted
Last week I wrote about Park Dae-sung, a blogger that falsely reported that the country of South Korean banned banks from purchasing U.S. currency. Today the court granted him freedom as part of the decision that was set for today. Park Dae-sung also known by his online alias Minerva was arrested in January and it was heavily debated how much freedom of expression should be tolerated online. Dae-sung could have been prisoned for 5 years. Dae-sung is an unemployed 31 year old that predicted the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the crashing of the South Korean currency, and the effect of the American subprime mortgage crisis in South Korea.
Minerva sometimes took his written attacks too far. He heavily criticized the government’s actions in responding to the financial crisis and often times was mistaken in the facts. After that the government blamed him for undermining financial markets. As part of Dae-sung’s release, the judge stated that there was no evidence that he “had the intention to undermine public interest.” Dae-sung may not have actually known that the facts he was writing were false.
Dae-sung’s prosecutors were looking for at least an 18 month sentence. In court, Dae-sung stated “South Korea may be the only country in the world where a man is tried because he criticized the government’s foreign currency policies.”