South Korea: Enhanced censorship on cultural contents

21 August 2012

A new South Korean bill requires every music video to be rated prior to upload. Failure to comply will result in up to two years in prison or a hefty fine, reported Global Voices on 20 August 2012.

Artists and South Korean net users have labeled it a new form of enhanced censorship on cultural contents and a regression in freedom of expression. It came into effect on 18 August 2012.

Previously, only television stations were responsible for airing music videos, whereas the new bill extends the censorship to video clips published on online platforms, including YouTube, blogs and Internet bulletin boards. The law is applied even to clips, not for profit organisations, and various music and movie teasers.

The authorities argue that the new measure is to protect young, impressionable audiences from the flow of indecent or violent music videos. Some predict the bill will first make content labeled ‘not for children under age 19’ by the Korea Media Rating Board inaccessible to mass audiences, and in the long-run, as one media pundit worries, will eventually lead every citizen to ask for, or at least consider, permission before uploading any content online.


Confusion over definitions
On the concerns that it will eventually affect everyone, the authorities asserted that the regulation will not be applied to “non-business individuals”. Struggling indie musicians, however, beg to differ. Singer-songwriter, Lee Yoon-hyuk, raises questions on what constitutes as “non-business individual” and added there is no clear legal definition to “music video”:

Net users revealed the new bill have postponed famous singer, G-Dragon’s new album release, which makes people more concerned as to what could happen to less powerful musicians without an agency to protect them.
The Korea Times – 8 August 2012:
YouTube music video rating riles up artists


Global Voices – 20 August 2012:
South Korea: Controversial Launch of Online Music Video Rating
By Lee Yoo Eun

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