The United States expressed concern over restrictions on freedom of expression in South Korea, including through the use of criminal libel laws.
In its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices released on Monday, the U.S. State Department said South Korea is a constitutional democracy, where last year's March 9 presidential and June 1 local elections were conducted in a free and fair manner.
The report said while the government generally respects freedom of expression, including for the press, the government's interpretation and implementation of the national security law among others have limited such freedom and restricted internet access.
It mentioned that the government and public figures have used libel and slander laws to restrict public discussion and to harass, intimidate, or censor private and media expression.
As for the freedom of peaceful assembly, the report said while the government generally respects the right, such assemblies could be legally prohibited or limited when considered likely to undermine public order.