South Korean blogger acquitted

Park Dae-sung, who blogs under the name Minerva, was acquitted of charges in South Korea on April 20, 2009, under a rarely used law of “spreading false information with the intent of harming the public interest.” The Seoul court that heard his case ruled that Park wrote without malicious intent, even if his articles were misleading his articles.

Park, who said he wrote his columns after reading economic textbooks and surfing the Internet, wrote on, a popular South Korean Web portal. Prosecutors had asked for an 18-month sentence for posting misleading information that damaged South Korea’s reputation. On December 29, 2008, Park posted a story saying the government had tried to dissuade local bankers from buying U.S. dollars, a change in official policy. The government denied the story and brought the charges against Park. He pleaded not guilty.

Despite his anonymity, Park was widely read in South Korea after many of his financial predictions, mostly negative, turned out to be accurate; perhaps his most famous was the correct prediction that the U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers would fail.