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Legal victory for Korean performer Tablo

Tablo, a member of Korean hip-hop group Epik High. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)

Publication Date : 10-10-2012


The Seoul Central District Court dismissed Wednesday the appeals of eight online community members convicted of libel for spreading false rumours that hip-hop artist Tablo falsified his academic background at Stanford University.

Online cafe “We Demand Tablo Tell the Truth,” known as “Tajinyo” in Korean, began operating in May 2010, accusing the Epik High member of lying about his academic achievement to court popularity.

As malicious comments snowballed online, Tablo filed a lawsuit against 22 members of the online cafe for libel in August 2010. In October 2010, the cyber crime team at Seocho Police Station announced it had checked Tablo’s certificate and transcript from Stanford and confirmed that he earned a bachelor of arts and master’s degree at the prestigious US university.

The court upheld the initial trial ruling against nine Internet users for libel and confirmed their prison terms.

In July, four of the nine “Tajinyo” members, none of whom have a previous criminal record, were sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for three years. Another two, also without any previous convictions, received 10-month jail terms, suspended for 2 years.

The judge ruled that three netizens who insulted Tablo even after being accused of defamation should serve their 10 months jail terms.

“We cannot accept the defendants’ claim that the sentence from the first trial was an injustice. The motivation of the crime was impure, the method was thoughtless and the same practice was repeated several times,” the court said in the ruling.

Tablo allegedly demanded the judges give the online cafe members stern punishment.

“The scar (from the scandal) was too great to forgive Tajinyo,” he said, according to a local media report.

In the statement, the judge also pointed out that social problems were another reason for severe punishment.

“Not only ‘Tajinyo,’ but also malicious online comments and bullying thrive in this society. It’s reasonable to punish people considering the serious situation of today to set an example.”


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