S. Korea’s MPs pass law to ban anti-Pyongyang leaflets, amid opposition protests
The National Assembly in Seoul has voted for a bill that prohibits the launching of anti-North Korea leaflets across its shared border with South Korea, as opposition activists protested the move.
The South Korean legislature revised the Development of Inter-Korean Relations Act, dubbed the anti-leaflet law, and barred any scattering of printed materials, goods and money across the heavily fortified border. Loudspeaker propaganda broadcasts were also restricted.
The scattering of leaflets critical of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, or the country’s political system, across the border is now outlawed, with violations punished by up to three years behind bars or a fine of up to 30 million won ($27,000).
South Korea’s main opposition party, the conservative People Power Party (PPP), protested against the bill as limiting the right to free expression.
A day earlier, PPP lawmakers staged a filibuster in parliament to block the passage of the new bill, but it was passed during the plenary session in a 187-0 vote on Monday.
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North Korea has long considered the launching of such leaflets hostile acts, and the leaders of two Koreas agreed to suspend leafleting, as well as other activities aimed against each other in the border area, while signing the Panmunjom Declaration in 2018.
Despite their decision, conservative activist groups – many run by North Korean defectors – have continued to send such propaganda leaflets. In response to their actions and other “provocations,” Pyongyang blew up an inter-Korean liaison office in its border town of Kaesong in June, claiming it was a “useless” communications facility.
Within a month, Seoul responded by revoking the licenses of two anti-North Korea groups which have for years used balloons or bottles on border rivers to send leaflets, food, medicine, $1 bills and mini radios into North Korea.
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Source:RT World News