Culture Ministry to Introduce 'Restricted Theaters'

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Culture Ministry to Introduce 'Restricted Theaters'

The Korean government is preparing to set up 'restricted theaters,' the introduction of which has been embroiled in controversy for the past two years. In addition, regulations regulating the establishment and management of movie theaters will be governed under the Film Promotion Act instead of the Cultural Performance Act.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism will release a draft outlining these revisions for public evaluation on August 11. The introduction of 'restricted theaters' has been postponed by previous parliamentary hearings in 1998 and 1999.

A ministry official attributed its move to the growing demand from the film community for greater freedom of expression and to the need to protect children from pornography in a practical and systematic manner.

The movies that will be shown at these theaters are said to be so sexually explicit and violent that they are deemed harmful to minors and are inappropriate for public viewing. Only those above 20 are allowed to enter these theaters. The word 'restricted' is used to avoid confusion that these theaters show pornographic materials.

The proposed revision will create two categories of theaters: movie theaters and non-permanent theaters. Movie theaters will in turn be divided into general theaters, theaters that show a particular movie 3/5 of the time, and restricted theaters.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism will hold a public hearing this month and submit the draft for revision to the National Assembly in October.

by Cho Hyun-wook

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