South Korea bans citizens from floating leaflets to North Korea

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South Korea voted to ban its citizens from flying leaflets into North Korea, a practice used to send information into the nation about the outside world.

The bill, passed on Monday with the support of 187 lawmakers, was mostly a party-line vote, with the Democratic Party in favor of it. The Associated Press reports that it will go into effect in three months.

Violators of the law can be punished with up to three years in prison.

For years, activists have sent balloons carrying rice, money, leaflets, and USB sticks into North Korea. Supporters of the bill believe doing so has hindered the South’s ability to negotiate with its neighbor to the north.

Earlier this year, Kim Yo Jong, the sister of Kim Jong Un, called those participating in the leaflet initiative “human scum” and “mongrel dogs.”

Supporters of the bill believe that continuing the practice violates agreements between the two nations, but critics say their free speech rights are hindered by the policy.

“This is a law that will block the flow of South Korea’s great values, the spirit of democracy, freedom, and equality, to North Korea,” conservative opposition lawmaker Tae Yongho said during a 10-hour speech, as he and his colleagues tried to block the bill from passing. “It’s a law aimed at joining hands with Kim Jong Un and leaving North Korean residents enslaved for good.”

Source : South Korea bans citizens from floating leaflets to North Korea