Comments on: Vermont’s first "Amendment Weekend" Blog, news, books Fri, 20 Jan 2017 11:29:00 +0000 hourly 1 By: Somee Wed, 04 Jun 2003 05:20:59 +0000 During the recent presidential election in Korea, supporters for the winning candidate, President Roh, used the Internet as an effective campaign tool. Many people credit this grassroots online effort with President Roh�s surprising electoral victory.

The Internet created a number of new opportunities in Korea:
(i) New forms of political organization which do not require formal structures like those of previous political organizations, and which, as a result, can be created quickly and without a lot of money. The grassroots organization that played a key role in President�s Roh�s victory, which calls itself �People Who Love Roh Moo Hyun�, was born in cyberspace during the election campaign (;
(ii) Alternative news sources: Popular independent news sources, including “Oh, My News” ( or “Pressian” offered a voice that�s different from Korea�s leading newspapers (which tend to be quite conservative);
(iii) Civic organizations have started using the Internet to mobilize people. NGOs and civic groups use the Internet to raise money, post their agendas, or spread their opinions using message boards (message boards are very popular in Korea). See

The Internet proved to be a very effective and efficient method to both understand public opinion, and to help shape it. The wide availability of broadband (more than 50% of households have DSL, Ran or VDSL), is one of the reasons for this.

One key factor in the last presidential elections in Korea was the generation gap that played out: President Roh won the election thanks to the support of young people. The older generation by and large voted for his conservative opponent.
The main supporters of candidate Roh were relatively young people in their 20′s or 30′s. This could be because the younger generation is more liberal then older generations. But in the case of the Korean presidential election, the younger generation who elected the reformist president was also the wired generation that was familiar with the Internet in their daily life and tapped into the new resources discussed above.

In sum, the recent Korean presidential election, and the impact of online communications on the election�s outcome, raises a number of interesting issues. A younger, wired generation took over the reigns from their parents� generation to install a reformist government, replacing the traditional left v. right paradigm with a generational gap. Equity issues also appeared: people who couldn�t access the Internet did not have access to the entire picture, and were in a sense excluded from a critical part of the political process that turned out to be decisive (Internet-based campaigning and online information sources).

By: Sangmin Shim Mon, 02 Jun 2003 08:52:22 +0000 As a person who was in Korea at the time of the presidential election, I feel that some more facts might be helpful to things in perspective.

First of all, it turned out after the election that most polls had predicted Mr. Moo-Hyun Roh’s victory by a margin of 1.5-2% over the other presidential candidate, Mr. Hoe-Chang Lee. (one funny thing about the Korean presidential election law is that, while people are free to run polls as they like it, they are forbidden to announce the results when they are done within the last two weeks before the election day.) There was an unexpected event the night before the election day, however, which was that a politician named Mong Joon Chung, who had quit the presidential race in support of Mr. Roh, announced his withdrawl of support for Mr. Roh for apparently personal reasons. This sent the sense of frustration and disillusionment throughout the nation, and many people chose not to bother to vote on the election day. Here the technology wielded its strengths in a dramatic fashion: Learning by exit polls that Mr. Roh was trailing the other candidate in the morning hours, Mr. Roh’s campaigners and supporters started sending out text messages and posting blogs, urging young people to vote. The turnout significantly increased from early afternoon, mostly by youngsters, and around 3 pm of the day Mr. Roh came ahead of Mr. Lee and went on to win the election.

As for the effects of internet and technology on the presidential election in Korea, my sense is that they were quite effective in bringing together the support for Mr. Roh and in depicting him as a “new leader in a new age” who basked in the blessings of new technology. For those who desparately longed for various changes in the status quo in Korea, this made-up (indeed it is) image was received as good news in the biblical sense, and was a powerful symbol that led him to the victory.

Sangmin Shim, JSD candidate, SLS

By: Karl Sat, 31 May 2003 16:34:19 +0000 This story on Slashdot implies that it was text messaging that won the day, but that webpresence was also a huge reason for the outcome of the election. The discussion is about this Globe and Mail story.

I don’t want to oversimplify things, but it seems that young people just needed a reminder to vote. I don’t see any particular mention of blogs.


By: David Moynihan Sat, 31 May 2003 16:29:37 +0000 I guess to give a little more background on how reliable the news was (and it may not have any bearing on the recent election results!) perhaps the most tragic element of post-Korean war history for the ROK was the Kwangju incident in 1980, where miltary troops armed with weapons from bayonets to (some say) gunships put down labor protests in South Cholla province (big part of Kim Dae Jung’s power base).

A lot of protesters died. Official body count was around 200, but the people never believed it. Press at the time I was there (95-96) would sometimes reference various protests (which were ongoing), by calling South Cholla province “the economically backward region” and worse… with the greatest sin being not to have GDP per capita of $10,000.