One of the latest “trending” petitions is one to shut down the infamous press company Dispatch for violating celebrity’s private lives and it has now reached over 204,000 signatures.
For any petition with over 200,000 signatures on the Blue House petition website, the government will release an official response or statement. This is why Koreans have actively “petitioned” for the most current, controversial issues.
The petition was triggered after Dispatch’s exclusive report on actress Choi Ji Woo‘s husband.
The report revealed his name, age, occupation, and even the most private details about his life, like the fact that he had his name legally changed. Some readers became uncomfortable with the amount of personal information unveiled in the report, especially when Choi Ji Woo held a rather private wedding in consideration of her non-celebrity husband.
The petition states, “Dispatch has a huge impact in the entertainment media. Please shut it down. Celebrities are human too. They also have private lives that they don’t want to share with the rest of the world.”
“Dispatch stalks celebrities, takes pictures without telling them, creates and spreads rumors, and violates their privacies. Any Korean citizen who has read a Dispatch article probably knows what Dispatch does. Dispatch does not care about protecting the rights of these celebrities. It only care about publishing articles. If all the articles Dispatch wrote are true, it wouldn’t matter. Unfortunately, Dispatch writes articles that aren’t true and from such false publications, the celebrities involved are hurt. Rumors spread by Dispatch do not only negatively impact the celebrities, but also their families, associates, and fans. Even when articles are proven to be false, Dispatch never apologizes or responds to criticism… We want to shut down Dispatch with this petition. If that is impossible, at least please come up with ways to penalize spread of false news.”
— Excerpt from Petition
This isn’t the first time the Blue House received a petition to shut down a media company like Dispatch. In June 2018, another petition to shut down TV Chosun reached over 230K signatures and received an official response from the secretary of new media. The Dispatch petition is expected to receive a similar response.
“The freedom of speech is an extremely important right protected by the South Korean constitution. Article 21 of the constitution prohibits censorship of speech or publications. Revocation of permission from a press company would only become possible with the Korea Communications Commission’s strict legal processes, involving very careful consideration of this constitutional law, along with the viewer rights.”
— Secretary Jeong Hye Seung