South Korean oppression of Internet writer

The more I hear about the arrest of Minerva, the more I feel the stupidity reeking from the part of the South Korean government. Minerva is the handle of a user who writes on the Daum Agora website, a South Korean public discussion site, who had gained a reputation as a financial pundit with his predictions of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy and the declining value of the South Korean currency. The arrest is based on Minerva supposedly posting two posts with false information out of the hundreds that he had made.

Unless Minerva is or claimed to be in an authoritative position with authorized access to the pertinent information, the arrest seems to be ridiculous to me. And he never claimed to be in such a position as far as I know. His posts should be considered secondhand information and educated guesses that should be viewed through skeptical glasses as any other such writing should be, and the fact that his writings may have affected South Korean financial markets says more about how much financial investors suck than anything else. It's also the fault of the traditional untrustworthiness and lack of transparency of the South Korean government; maybe they should have arrested the government. Minerva is at fault for claiming false experience, but his posts should and did stand by themselves. At most, his false history should have deserved expulsion from the website and public ridicule, not an arrest.

A better way would be to promote skeptical attitudes and critical thinking among the public instead of arresting those who write falsehoods. I might be really critical about those who write wishful thinking as fact like those who promote alternative medicine or UFOs as extraterrestrials do, but the thought of arresting them gives me the shivers, and not in a good way. However, perhaps promoting critical thinking is a very unpalatable option for any government, as it makes it harder for them to dupe their own citizens.

A last bit of irony: One of the reasons that Minerva was arrested was that he supposedly did harm to South Korea's reputation. I suspect that his arrest is doing more harm to that reputation than his writings ever did ...

2 Replies to “South Korean oppression of Internet writer”

  1. " I suspect that his arrest is doing more harm to that reputation than his writings ever did …"

    Yeah, I agree. I thought South Korea was one of the 'good guys'.

    1. There's a lot of uproar and controversy over the arrest, so at least the situation in South Korea is a lot better than several decades ago, where not many people would have even openly raised complaints about the lack of freedom of speech ...

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