[Kyodo] Japanese NGO, individual win S. Korea's 1st-ever Internet Peace Prize


    Japanese NGO, individual win S. Korea's 1st-ever Internet Peace Prize

    Takao Yamada, secretary general of the Kawasaki Network of Citizens Against Hate Speech, speaks at a ceremony held in Seoul on Oct. 11, 2018 for the inaugural "Internet Peace Prize," which was won by his organization. (Kyodo)

    SEOUL (Kyodo) -- An award ceremony was held in Seoul on Thursday for the inaugural "Internet Peace Prize," which was won by a Japanese nongovernmental organization that fights hate speech and a Japanese activist.

    The 2018 laureates are the Kawasaki Network of Citizens Against Hate Speech, which was honored for its efforts to promote peace on the internet, and Ken Ogiso, who conducts lectures on internet etiquette and communication ethics for preventing online violence.

    The award was established by renowned educator Min Byoung Chul, chairman of the Sunfull Foundation, a South Korean nongovernmental organization founded in 2007 that started the Sunfull Movement to counter cyberbullying and to promote peace and human rights online.

    The Kawasaki network and Ogiso were announced as the winners last month. They each received a certificate, medal of recognition and a $5,000 cash prize.

    The network is particularly active in fighting discrimination targeting ethnic Korean residents in Kawasaki, a city south of Tokyo with a large number of Korean residents.

    About 500,000 Korean residents live in Japan. Most of them are descendants of Koreans who came or were forced to come to Japan during Japan's 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. They are given permanent residency status.

    Since 2016, the network has been monitoring incidents of hate speech through social media, and its members have been conducting lectures to educate people about the problem as well as organizing demonstrations with more than 1,000 participants protesting hate speech.

    In his acceptance speech at the ceremony held at Hanyang University, Takao Yamada, secretary general of the organization, said, "On the internet, anyone easily becomes a victim (of hate speech) and anyone becomes a perpetrator."

    "I want to create a community in which multiple ethnicities and multiple cultures can coexist with the consensus of residents," he added.

    Ogiso, a safety team manager at social game developer Gree Inc. who won in the education division, said in his acceptance speech that words which you would not say in person, should not be delivered via the internet.

    "We will continue to educate people on the importance of creating a polite internet culture," he said.

    According to Sunfull, the Internet Peace Prize is awarded to individuals or organizations that contributed to preventing or countering online hate speech, cyberbullying and malicious comments, or contributed to humanity, world peace and fulfillment of human rights, without being restricted by nationality, religion, or ideology, race, ethnicity, gender or other differences.

    Akira Kawasaki, a key Japanese member of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is on the award's selection committee. He delivered a speech at Thursday's ceremony.