What if Barack Obama is sprung into office partially through the power of Internet donations to his campaign and his ability to inspire a new generation of voters to vote via social networking tools? Yet, he comes into office bitter about the lies bandied about on the Web in chain mails about his religious background and patriotic beliefs -- so bitter that he decides to push for regulation of Web-based opinions and news?
There, the relatively new government was greatly assisted by the country's Web savvy voters when it won it's election five months ago. But, those unintended consequences of the Internet came back to bite the government on its flank when it was the delivery mechanism for hysterical fears of rampant Mad Cow disease after the government began to accept American beef back into the country. This then manifested itself in massive street protests (see below) against the government that have its popularity to Bushian-levels.
Now comes the attempt to put the genie back in the bottle....
...the newly elected South Korean conservative government, led by Lee Myung-bak, has unveiled a package of reforms and laws aimed at curbing some of what it claims is the outrageously libellous commentary and ungrounded scaremongering found online.
Lee Han-ki, the OhmyNews editor-in-chief, told MediaGuardian.co.uk: "The proposed legislation will not only hinder free speech by Korean netizens but seems to be aimed at controlling the public opinion of internet news media.
"Such measures would not help to promote the democratic development of the Korean press and could end up turning back the internet clock in Korea."
Should Lee's new Seoul government get its way, new laws would allow any internet company publishing news stories to be regulated in the same way as journalistic organisations.
All forum and chatroom users will be required to make verifiable real-name registrations.
Internet companies will have to make public their search algorithm to improve "transparency". And, most controversial of all, regulatory body the Korea Communications Commission will be given powers to immediately suspend the publishing of articles found to be fraudulent or slanderous for a minimum of 30 days. (Guardian UK)