I wrote a post on defamation about six months ago (if you have an interest, please refer to the link: https://koreanlawyer123.blogspot.com/2018/10/what-is-defamation.html). I was to discuss further issues on defamation and today is the day! Many expats do not understand why the one who tells truth shall be punished. There have been many controversies over whether the first paragraph of the Article 307 of Criminal Act stipulating punishment to the one defaming by alleging facts shall be abolished. Even though it is not likely that the article shall be removed soon, I’d like to point out that there are justifications for defamation by alleging facts. Please note that defamation by alleging ‘false’ facts shall not be justified. The Article 310 of Criminal Act states justification of defamation by alleging facts as follows;
Article 310 (Justification)
If the facts alleged under Article 307 (1) are true and solely for the public interest, the act shall not be punishable.
According to the Supreme Court cases, what the facts are ‘true’ means that considering the contexts, the statement of which parts of the are true shall be true even if the details of it have a little difference from the truth or exaggerated expression.
As for ‘the public interest’, the Supreme Court stated that it includes the interest of certain social groups and all of its members. Additionally, according to Supreme Court cases, even if the alleged facts are about just personal information, by proving that the main reason why the one allege the fats is for the public interest, the defamation shall be defensed.
It is impossible to say that there is a clear cut standard to judge whether defamation by alleging facts shall be justified or not. For further inquiries, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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