Disclosure of “Bad Fathers” Found Not Guilty
Disclosure of “Bad Fathers” Found Not Guilty
  • Reporter Kim Seo-yeon
  • 승인 2020.02.13 19:16
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▲Koo Bon-chang, the founder of "Bad Fathers"
▲Koo Bon-chang, the founder of "Bad Fathers"

 

The founder of “Bad Fathers”–a website that publicly identifies parents owing child support– was found not guilty of defamation on Jan. 15 as the local court recognised the public interest the website served. 
Koo Bon-chang, the founder of “Bad Fathers”, launched the website in July 2018, publicising the portrait, name, age, home address, and workplace of parents whose former partners accused them of refusing to pay child support. The website denotes that the purpose of the website is to pressure bad fathers who have failed to pay child support to pay up, explaining that ‘a child’s right to life should be given priority over its father’s publicity right.’
However, since the launch of the website, Koo was sued 16 times for defamation. From September and October 2018, Prosecutors received complaints from five parents who had their personal information uploaded on the website and filed an indictment against Koo for 3 million KRW in May of last year. They claimed that the website includes personal information under the title “irresponsible fathers (mothers)” that can damage the reputations of the victims.
On the other hand, Koo’s lawyers claimed that the real victims of this case are not the parents who have been disclosed but their children who have not received child support. They asserted that “In foreign countries, those who have not paid for child support are punished, but, in this case, the perpetrators are pretending to be victims, citing defamation.” 
Moreover, Koo highlighted the gravity of the issue, claiming that “there are about a million children in our country who are suffering from non-payment of child support, and this is not just a financial problem, but an important issue that is directly related to the survival of their children.”
After the 15-hour-long trial, Suwon District Court acquitted the charge, ruling that the parents had brought such defamation upon themselves and that the disclosure of personal information on “Bad Fathers” was in accordance with the public interest. The court explained that “The defendant’s activities to make the sufferings of parents who have not received child support known without any intention to make profit can be seen as serving the public interest.”
Thanks to Koo and the operators of “Bad Fathers”, 121 out of some 400 families have received previously unpaid child support, and with the accusations of defamation cleared, more are yet to come. 


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