North Korea says South's Web ban violates freedom

North Korea said on Friday the South Korean government was violating the public's basic right to information by blocking access to websites sympathetic to the North.

South Korea has denied access to more than 30 websites that it has designated "pro-North Korea" since 2004, including the North's official KCNA news agency's web service and sites operated outside.

"This is a fascist action against democracy and human rights as it infringes upon the South Koreans' freedom of speech and deprives them of even their right to enjoy the civilization offered by the IT age," the North's official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said.

"The above-said actions are as rude as blindfolding people's eyes and stopping their ears and mouths," Rodong Sinmun said in a commentary carried by KCNA news agency.

The ban showed South Korea was against reconciliation with the North, the newspaper said.

South Korea's unification ministry said earlier this month that it had no plans to lift the ban.

Most North Koreans have limited or no access to computers let alone the Internet, refugees from the North and human rights activists in Seoul have said.

South Korea is one of the world's most wired countries. Three-quarters of the population have access to the Internet.

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