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DRAPAC Series: South Korea’s Lessons for Threats to Southeast Asian internet freedom

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Date and Time: October 9, 3PM Bangkok time (UTC+7)


In South Korea, internet freedom and freedom of speech are under threat, with policies restricting people’s activities online. The government’s proposed “sender pay” model, in which content providers will be charged fees for making content available in addition to charges for being connected to the internet, would not only throttle innovation in Korea’s creative industries but would also erode net neutrality globally.

Meanwhile, administrative bodies in the country continue to block or censor content deemed a threat to social norms. Such non-judicial mandatory takedown will likely result in majoritarian censorship shutting down pluralism of various voices, which is an emerging threat in Southeast Asia.

As an introduction to the first topic, the “sender pay” model, we recommend you watch this explainer by our guest speaker on the topic.

There are many questions for us to consider:

  1. How exactly does the proposed “sender pay” model threaten net neutrality globally?
  2. What does administrative censorship look like in South Korea? How does it compare to other countries in the region?
  3. What has been the public’s response to these government measures and proposals?
  4. Where can Korean, regional, and international digital rights advocates best contribute to protect these internet freedoms in the country?

Guest Speaker:

Kyung Sin “KS” Park is a professor at the Korea University School of Law and the co-founder and director of digital rights advocacy organisation Open Net Korea. From 2011 to 2014, he served as Commissioner of the Korean Communication Standards Commission, a presidentially appointed internet content regulation body. His other engagements include being a Board member of Global Network Initiatives, a self-regulatory coalition of global platforms and telecommunication network operators; a member of the Advisory Network to Freedom Online Coalition, an inter-governmental body of countries committed to internet freedom; and, until 2020, a member of the High-Level Panel on Media Freedom, a group of legal experts advising an inter-governmental body committed to media freedom. He is also one of the leading authors of the Necessary and Proportionate Principles on Communications Surveillance and the Manila Principles for Intermediary Liability.

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