National
Overseas-based pro-N.K. websites on sharp rise
Published : Oct 30, 2011 - 15:54
Updated : Oct 30, 2011 - 19:57
The number of overseas-based websites glorifying the North Korean regime has been increasing rapidly, a police report here showed Sunday.

With their servers based in foreign countries, South Korean authorities have faced difficulties in dealing with the Korean-language websites legally.

Police detected 58 such sites from 2007 until September of this year, and blocked South Korean Internet users’ access to 37 of such websites, according to documents submitted by the National Police Agency to an opposition party lawmaker.

South Korea has also shut down some 140 social networking service accounts opened by people during the same period for praising the Pyongyang regime, according to the document.

South Korea bans its citizens from accessing pro-North Korea propaganda sites, citing the technical state of war it has been in with Pyongyang since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce.

Some operators of these websites are said to be South Korean nationals who are residing in foreign countries, police said.

Of the 58 Web sites detected, 26 had servers in the United States, eight in China, seven in Japan and five in North Korea.

“It is almost impossible to apply our national security law to cases overseas,” an official at the police agency said.

The number of pro-North Korea websites has been increasing sharply each year with only nine such sites each detected by police in 2007 and 2008, 10 detected in 2009 and 16 in 2010, according to police.

In recent months, North Korea has opened accounts on global SNS sites such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, drawing media attention. The North’s official Korean Central News Agency also runs a website at http://www.star.edu.kp.

By Shin Hae-in (hayney@heraldcorp.com)
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