In a chilling precedent for economics bloggers around the globe, a South Korean economics blogger was arrested, and charged with “Spreading false economic information on the internet.” If convicted, the Korean economics blogger, could serve 5 years in jail.
Apparently “Minerva”, the internet pseudonym for the arrested Mr. Park aka “economic president of the internet”, gained a large following by accurately predicting the financial collapse. “Minerva” went too far and committed a crime, according to the judge and reported by the Associated Press, by claiming on an internet discussion board that the South Korean government ” had ordered major financial institutions and trade businesses not to purchase U.S. dollars.” His posting “affected foreign exchange markets and the nation’s credibility,” said the judge.
At this time it is impossible to verify whether the accusations are accurate, in any case Mr. Park pleaded not guilty to all charges at his court hearing on Saturday, and is receiving wide spread support in the Korean Blogosphere.
You can show your support for Mr. Park, by sending a message to the Honorable Ambassador of the Republic of Korea Lee Tae-sik, and demand that his government immediately release Mr. Park and respect free speech on the internet. You can also help to keep the internet free, by supporting the premier internet watchdog group, the “Electronic Frontier Foundation” with a much needed donation.
As an economics blogger myself, who also predicted the financial collapse, the ability to share with my readers my thoughts and yes predictions is compromised by the action of the Korean Government. Economics is all about predicting the future, economists spend half of their time predicting the future, and the other half revising their predictions. Without predictions there would not be economics.
Thankfully, Mr. Park is receiving backing from the main Korean opposition party as well as from human rights activists, so I predict that Mr. Park will be released shortly. After, you have contacted the Korean Embassy, of course.
In a show of solidarity with our Korean colleague, the Inspired Economist welcomes you to leave a comment below, with your economic predictions for 2009.
Photo Credit: Mikey G Ottowa under a Creative Commons License.