South Korea mulls Internet code of ethics

South Korea will introduce an Internet code of ethics to curb the distribution of pornographic material and other information deemed inappropriate, officials, quoted by an AFP report said.

The AFP report said a bill will be sent to parliament for approval this year, vice information communication minister Yoo Young-hwan told a news conference.

'Our (web) portal industry has grown rapidly in the absence of regulations. Now they must take social responsibility because of their enormous influence,' he said.

The AFP report said local portal operators will be asked to filter out obscene, defamatory and other unwanted material. If they do not, they will be punished, according to the official.

There are 18 home-grown portal sites in service. Younger people are especially active in creating and uploading image files and video clips, the report said.

Experts say that, unlike text, filtering of video footage is technically difficult.

In response, the information ministry blocked 180 foreign websites used by South Koreans to spread obscene material on the local portals, the report further said.