NHRCK Welcomes Kakao’s Announcement of Principles for Addressing Hate Speech
The National Human Rights Commission of Korea(Chairperson Young-ae Choi) welcomes Kakao’s January 13 announcement of principles for addressing hate speech, which is an important milestone in the fight against online hate speech.
Despite the spread of hate speech on online portals, forums and social media, the absence of hate speech standards has made it difficult to properly handle complaints filed by victims.
The removal of comment sections for entertainment news articles by key online portals such as Kakao and Naver in February 2020 was a meaningful first step towards combating hate speech on online platforms. However, we should move beyond imposing a general ban on certain features of websites towards engaging all stakeholders in the response to hate speech and preparing and enforcing self-regulatory measures to fight discrimination and violence that occurs as a result of hate speech. In this regard, the Commission commends the efforts of online portal sites in establishing voluntary regulations.
The Commission has been conducting research jointly with Kakao and the Korean Society for Media Law, Ethics and Policy Research to define the concept of hate speech and seek self-regulatory measures for online hate speech since the second half of last year. Once again, it welcomes that Kakao declares the basic principles for addressing hate speech based on the findings of the joint research.
The United Nations raised concern about the tragic and appalling situations where the failure to address hate speech online poses a threat to the right to life of many people such as minorities and stressed the roles that each and every operator in the information and communications sector can play in this regard.
The roles required of businesses include meaningful cooperation with stakeholders such as victims that are directly affected by hateful language, human rights activists and external researchers, compliance with international standards that regulate hate speech to defend and promote freedom of expression and transparent implementation of the entire process designed to combat hate speech and education and promotional activities for employees and users. To make sure that the efforts made by businesses pay off, online users including minorities and civil societies need to gather their wisdom and put it into practice.
The Commission further encourages web portals and online communities to participate in efforts to establish self-regulatory measures to cultivate a culture that does not tolerate hate speech. The Commission will continue to work closely with online platforms to support self-policing of hate speech.