The Supreme Court Thursday upheld a ruling that fined a cartoonist 3 million won ($2,600) for drawing a cartoon directing abusive words toward President Lee Myung-bak.
The cartoonist, 45, surnamed Choi, was indicted in June last year for writing the abusive words on the right side of his cartoon run in a PR magazine published by Wonju City in Gangwon Province.
He drew the cartoon in June last year, depicting family members paying respect to a soldier’s monument, with an offensive comment against the President hidden in a pattern on the monument.
The city distributed some 20,000 copies of the paper, and the hidden message was found by citizens and spread online at the time of publication. The city sued Choi for 120 million won in damages, claiming his cartoon obstructed businesses of the city government as it had to recollect all the papers and make a public apology for printing the controversial cartoon.
It claimed he had dishonored the city with the remarks and insulted not only the President but all public servants. A district court slapped him with a fine of 3 million won and it was upheld by an appellate court.