Combating cyberhate

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Combating cyberhate

The operator of the anti-Tablo Internet forum “TaJinYo” never said he was sorry for what he was doing to the popular singer: raising constant doubt over the Korean-Canadian’s degrees from Stanford University, and spreading rumors about what he wanted to believe, whether it was wrong or right. In an interview with the JoongAng Ilbo, he said he accepts the results of a recent police inquiry that confirmed that Tablo actually graduated from the ivy league university.

After facing irrefutable evidence, Kim admitted that his judgment went wrong. And yet he has never apologized for what he did. He did request that Tablo drops the lawsuit against him, saying, “If all the controversy over the alleged fake diploma was sort of a game, Tablo just won.”

We are wondering how a man who inflicted permanent scars not only on Tablo but also on his family can make such irresponsible remarks. We are dumfounded by his unfathomable assertion that the winner is Tablo, whose life has been so devastated by a stranger that he had to quit singing and sacrifice his daily life amid relentless on-line slander. Now that his claim turned out to be a lie, the offender should first make an apology for wreaking mental havoc on Tablo and then take responsibility for what he did by accepting the police’s request for a full-fledged investigation into the case.

This case clearly shows the tyranny of the cybermob that gets a high from spreading ungrounded rumors, making false accusations and even encroaching on the privacy of people, usually total strangers, all in the name of freedom of speech and under the cover of anonymity. Netizens’ excessive arrogance have gone far beyond the tolerable.

Many entertainers have been victimized by the waves of cybercalumny, including actresses Choi Jin-sil and Chung Da-bin, both of whom committed suicide after enduring malicious rumors on the Web. This affects not only entertainers but average citizen too, some of who are forced to leave their workplace or schools. According to a survey by the National Youth Committee in 2006, 85 percent of high school students are under stress from severe maliciousness in cyberspace.

The situation shows a dark shadow that arches over the Internet age. Each and every Net user should be aware of an ever-growing danger posed by a vicious comments on the Web. A single sentence can lead to death. The government should deal with the situation if it does not want to allow another Tablo or Choi Jin-sil to get hurt. We strongly hope the Tablo case can provide a stepping stone for our society to get rid itself of hate in cyberspace.
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