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The South Korean government is planning a series of restrictions on Internet use to prevent what the beleaguered administration of President Lee Myung Bak calls the spread of false information that prompts social unrest, reports the "International Herald Tribune".

Under the proposal, all forum and chat room users will be required to make verifiable registrations using their real names.

As well, Korea's Communications Commission would make it mandatory that websites remove for 30 days articles that received complaints for being fraudulent or slanderous; after that, Korea's media arbitration body would rule on whether to allow the article to be published again. Regulators have not worked out what penalties violators would face.

The conservative government, led by Lee, was faced by recent mass demonstrations that were organised over the Internet to protest U.S. beef imports. The government blamed the protests on rumours and lies propagated by Internet users, and accused service providers of failing to police their content and of providing a platform for libellous claims and cyberbullying.

The country has to guard against "a phenomenon in which inaccurate, false information is disseminated, prompting social unrest that spreads like an epidemic," Lee said during a recent speech.

The bill which, is being prepared by the ruling party, will be submitted to the National Assembly in November.

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(10 September 2008)

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