This member story was featured in the 2016 APC Annual Report, as part of our work on rights.
In 2015, the South Korean government and ruling party introduced the Anti-Terror Bill and the Anti-Cyberterror Bill to the National Assembly. These bills had the potential to threaten civil liberties and human rights by giving excessive powers to the Korean National Intelligence Service (NIS) in the name of preventing terrorism. The NIS has often caused controversy through surveillance of civilians and political intervention. Civil society groups and opposition parties fervently opposed the bills.
On 23 February 2016, the chairperson of the South Korea National Assembly tabled the bills ex officio, on the pretext of a state of national emergency – with which many people did not agree – bypassing proper procedure and the hearing of public opinion. Opposition lawmakers conducted a filibuster lasting over 192 hours, which was the first time this tactic had been used in South Korea.
Civil society activists, including Jinbonet, also conducted a “civil filibuster” on the street in front of the National Assembly, despite the cold winter wind. The Anti-Terror Bill was finally passed by the National Assembly on 3 March, but the Anti-Cyberterror Bill was fortunately not passed.
The filibuster was broadcast live and provided an opportunity to vividly communicate the problems posed by the Anti-Terror Bill to the people, and although it did not stop it from being adopted, it helped to raise public awareness.