Gov't to enforce music video ratings system despite protests
Defying protests from local entertainment businesses, the government announced Tuesday it will enforce a music video ratings system as scheduled this month to better protect teens from sexually explicit and violent videos.
The decision has frustrated the local K-pop music industry, which uses music videos as an important means of promoting their music products.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said music videos must receive age ratings from authorities before being circulated on the Internet starting on Aug. 18, when a related law revision is scheduled to go into effect.
Currently, TV networks have their own criteria for censoring sexually explicit or violent music videos, and are not regulated by the government. But many videos declared unfit for broadcasting have drawn huge popularity on the Internet, raising mounting public concerns about their potential influence on teenagers.
Lawmakers have led the revision to the law on the promotion of movies and videos to address such problems, according to Park Byeong-woo, chief of the ministry's department on video products.
Under the new system, music videos to be used on online music sites will be subject to ratings by the Korea Media Rating Board whether they are made for commercial purposes or not, according to the ministry.
A maker or a distributor of a music video must display the age rating assigned to the video on the screen for more than 30 seconds starting at the beginning of the video, the ministry said.
Offenders of the law will face up to two years in jail or 20 million won ($17,722) in fines.
Still, there are limitations of the domestic law in punishing those uploading uncensored music videos on foreign Web sites like the YouTube, the internationally popular free video-sharing service.
The latest decision has sparked strong backlash from the local pop music industry, which called it a measure ignoring the reality of producing and distributing music products.
K-pop fans have started a signature-gathering campaign opposing the expanded ratings system, while trying to publicize problems with the system on Twitter and other social network services.
As of Tuesday noon, as many as 6,900 people signed an open petition against the government measure for the campaign, which began on Saturday. (Yonhap)