SEOUL, Sept. 1 (Korea Bizwire) – A South Korean man was sentenced to 4 million won (US$3,564) in fines on Friday for writing in the online encyclopedia Wikipedia early this year that then leading presidential candidate Moon Jae-in is a North Korean politician.
The 53-year-old head of a software development firm, identified by his surname Yang, edited Moon’s Korean-language Wikipedia page in February, falsely identifying him as a politician of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the North’s official name.
Yang also made the same change to the page of Lee Jae-myung, mayor of Seongnam, a city on the outskirts of Seoul. It was when Moon, Lee and others vied for the party’s nomination for president.
Yang corrected the false information six hours later, but the National Election Commission referred him to the prosecution for investigation.
On Friday, the Seoul Central District Court convicted and fined him.
The court said in the verdict that considering Wikipedia’s accessibility, propagation possibility and the domestic political situation at the time, what Yang did was an act that could have degraded the social reputation of the two and spread the perception among voters that they were pro-North Korea.
But the court said that in determining the sentence, it also took into consideration that there was the low possibility of readers taking what Yang wrote as fact because it’s obviously false, Yang voluntarily corrected the information, and his writing is not believed to have had a large effect on the election.