She has published her full letter on her blog, and here are the points she numerates in her lengthy letter:
1. Anti-English Spectrum’s Cafe Violates Korean Law and Naver Cafe’s Operating Principles
. . .
2. The Purpose of Anti-English Spectrum Cafe is to Promote Racial Hatred and Discrimination, Not to Improve the Education System in Korea
. . .
3. The Activities, Content, and Purpose of the Anti-English Spectrum Cafe Are Clearly Prohibited Under the Naver Cafe Terms of Service Agreement
. . .
4. As the Leading International Korean Internet Company, NHN Should Take a Stand Against Xenophobia, Racial Hatred and Discrimination
And in closing:
NHN Corp. should take a stand against racism, xenophobia and the proliferation of hate speech that only serves to tarnish Naver’s good name and reputation. Toward such an end I strongly suggest that Naver:* Remove content that claims foreigners are targeting Korean children in order to sexually molest them.
* Remove content that spreads rumors of foreigners seeking to infect Koreans with AIDS or other diseases.
* Remove content that contains racially derogatory images and messages that promote racial hatred and discrimination such as the group’s many “promotional posters.”
* Remove content that profiles, targets and stigmatizes individuals on the basis of race and nationality in order to expose them to greater suspicion.
* Remove content that involves vigilante activities such as the tracking or stalking of any persons, whether Koreans or foreigners.
* Remove content that targets interracial couples and seeks to stigmatize and degrade Koreans for having any kind of relationships with foreigners.
Two days ago the Association of Teachers of English in Korea [ATEK] put out a press release pledging their support. Here is an excerpt of their press release:
The Association for Teachers of English in Korea (ATEK) is pledging support to recent calls for NHN, the parent company of Naver.com, to take action against the online community of the Anti English Spectrum (AES), a race hate group that advocates vigilante tactics against foreign teachers that operates on Naver.com.
Letters were posted to the NHN Corporation, both in Korea and in Irvine, California, where the company's US branch is located. In the letters, written by Andrea Vandom, a PhD student in International Relations at the University of California, it is explained that the racist material on the Anti English Spectrum's page violates Naver's user agreement.
On the page it is suggested that AIDS infected foreign teachers are purposely spreading the disease, while molesting children, raping Korean woman and consuming large quantities of narcotics. These accusations have also been printed onto calling cards and distributed on streets of Seoul.
In her letters to the NHN Corporation, Vandom stated:
"This group’s highly defamatory statements violate Article Ga-4 (Defamatory Posts) of
Naver cafe’s terms of service agreement and rise to the level of violations of the Korean criminal code."
Vandom also pointed out that Article 4 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), which the Republic of Korea fully supports, states that the promotion of racial hatred, such as in posters used by the Anti English Spectrum on their Naver page, is illegal. By hosting these posters Naver is in effect assisting racist activities, which under Article 4(a) of the ICERD, is an offense that Korea has declared "punishable by law".
. . .
ATEK, a support group for over a thousand foreign teachers in Korea, wishes to give its full support to Vandom and her letters to the NHN Corporation. Consequently we expect NHN to enforce their user policies and remove all offensive material from the Anti English Spectrum's Naver page.
You'll find the rest of the press release on this Gusts of Popular Feeling post; for the sake of brevity I left out a few paragraphs.
Gusts of Popular Feeling has covered the activity of Anti-English Spectrum extensively, so consult the posts
* "The achievements of Anti-English Spectrum"
* "How to make foreign English teachers an AIDS threat in 5 easy steps"
for background information, especially regarding the group's influence on legislation against foreign English teachers.
Additionally, the powerpoint presentation "Who is Anti-English Spectrum?" created by Benjamin Wagner and prepared for the National Human Rights Commission of Korea was posted to Andrea Vandom's blog in September is a detailed account of who the group is and what they do. It certainly deserves a read.
I've written a number of posts about them as well, most recently two months ago to highlight the Korea Times' continuing favorable coverage to the "Citizens' Association for Lawful English Education," as well as a broad summary of their activities. The first example of favorable coverage of the "civic group" I cited was in the Korea Times on May 15, 2008:
Pictures depicting foreign teachers holding a ``sexy costume party'' in 2005 were the key driver for the creation of the civic group.
``There are many illegal foreign teachers. We organized this group to help make our schools and hagwons free of these problematic teachers,'' said Lee Eun-ung, manager of the Internet cafe.
Most members of the group participate in online activities, and some also actively engage in off-line activities to help police find foreigners who engage in drug use. So far, they have played a role in nabbing more than 60 people in illegal drug-related cases.
``Sometimes we stay up at night tracking and watching foreign nationals. We have even found some foreign teachers that take drugs then teach students at hagwons the following day,'' Lee said. ``We will continue to help police deport these foreign teachers.''
Though the "civic group" is now known as "Citizens' Association for Lawful English Education," and portrays itself as committed to education and cleaning up the industry, their motives were far more transparent in the beginning, when they called themselves the "Anti-English Spectrum" and had as their banner the infamous pictures of Korean women participating in a wet t-shirt contest.
Their motives are certainly visible in their statement of purpose, translated by Korea Beat last year; an excerpt:
Anger at the arrogant English Spectrum, alive and well as ever despite criticism for its debasement of Korean women, and the expulsion of illegal, low-quality English instructors.
The small but powerful country, the Republic of Korea!
We are Anti-English Spectrum, fighting for justice for a land whose heart is not yet shriveled up.
Our work holds meaning for our country and our society. We do it together!
This is the citizens’ movement for the expulsion of illegal foreign language teachers.
The first line of their statement of purpose
Until the degradation of Korean women by English Spectrum is ended
shows what they're ultimately about.
Anyway, the Korea Times and Kang Shin-who covered the story of Vandom's letter Sunday evening.
In short, I think going after the group for its hate speech in violation of Naver's own terms of service is productive. Trying to close sites simply by virtue of their controversial material will lead to dark places, and indeed ATEK Communications Director told The Marmot's Hole's Dann Gaymer crowd that's not what he's after:
Put simply, unpopular speech is fine and we don’t take issue with it. Yet when what is being said is unfounded and could potentially cause harm to someone that is an issue: Saying you don’t like foreign teachers is acceptable, saying foreign teachers are giving your kids AIDS isn’t. It’s offensive and could be detrimental to the fate of English teachers in Korea if some sort of hysteria were to develop because of it.
Once again ATEK does not want to see the Anti English Spectrum’s page shut down, we merely support the call for the removal of all material that is offensive to foreign English teachers.
Objecting to hate speech posted in violation of the host's own terms is not only more sound, but more reasonable.