Korean Twitter Users Protest Censorship, Provide Coverage of Rally

Koreans are taking to Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to reveal a different perspective on the anti-government protests that took place in central Seoul on November 14. Using the hashtag #PrayForKorea to spread their message, many protesters described and recorded events as they unfolded, and demanded an end to government censorship.

Although the rally was attended by some 100,000 people, of which over 50 were arrested and 30 were injured, there has been little to no news coverage on domestic channels. Naver and Daum, which are Korea’s major search portals, do not display any related articles on their front pages, and their trending search lists do not contain related keywords. Domestic TV networks have likewise not highlighted or discussed the protests during their broadcasts.

Park Geun Hye’s government has often been criticized for scrubbing negative media coverage of its policies and actions. Netizens have been using social media outlets such as Twitter to publicize the protests. Through various posts and phone screenshots, they shared the background on why they oppose the government-issued school textbooks and labor reform plans. They described the solid capsaicin crystals which were allegedly shot out of water cannons, injuring many people, including a 70-year-old male who has been listed in critical condition. They also mocked the current Naver search results, which purport to show that people are primarily interested in lottery numbers, Suzy, and soccer games, while trending Twitter tags show results such as “capsaicin crystal,” “Execute Park Geun Hye,” “water cannon critical condition,” and “No democracy, no country.”

Many of the tweets have been translated to English by fellow Twitter users.