Archive for May 2nd, 2007

When things get messy

For all you blogging grammar-gypsies out there (and especially those teaching in South Korea), a tale of caution – beware of what you write while in a foreign country.

The Metropolitician posts today that fellow blogger Zen Kimchi has found himself in some very serious shit; during his legal proceedings dealing with a Hagwon (tutoring facility) owner who wouldn’t pay his severance or overdue salary, ZK wrote about his experience on his blog. According to him, all of his accounts were based entirely on truth, mostly on court records.

The caveat? In the States, if a writer or journalist writes something incriminating about another person that turns out to be true, that writer is protected from a libel suit. This is known as “truth as a defense.” Unfortunately, it seems this doesn’t apply in South Korea. ZK has found himself in a world of hurt with the Cyberpolice for posting about his former boss – he is facing libel charges, has been barred from getting his own interpreter, and is struggling with the cost of a lawyer.

A disclaimer: while the above-linked post will highlight some very negative aspects of working/living in Korea, I want to offer from my personal experience that this is certainly not the norm.

Expats need to use extra caution in any country, not just South Korea. Living in a foreign system puts you in a vulnerable situation, and I would advise others to not be whimsical in their decisions, whether it’s signing a contract or choosing your words for your blog.

Safe travels.

*If you have any legal background, or are particularly well-versed in the workings of the South Korean legal system, please contact The Metropolitician via the above link and offer your help.


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