[FOUNTAIN]Cameras and voyeurs

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[FOUNTAIN]Cameras and voyeurs

"The Truman Show" (1998), a film that starred Jim Carrey, is appalling but is not blood-thirsty at least. In the movie, the life of a man, Truman Burbank, 30, had been broadcast around the world since the day he was born. Though his world, including his family, friends, home and school, is nothing but a set for 24-hour live broadcasting of his life, only Truman has no idea what is going on.

"Series 7: The Contenders" (2001) is more cruel. This movie tells a story about a fictional television game show called "The Contenders." The contestants are chosen in a random drawing, handed a weapon, and instructed to kill the other contestants. Nobody, once chosen, can refuse to appear in the show. The winner stays alive with no other reward. A pregnant woman, a drug addict, a nurse, a cancer victim and an 18-year-old girl are chosen as "contenders." The cameras of the TV broadcasting station tenaciously trail the players, who are running wild to kill the others and attracts a huge television audience.

Then how about the movie "15 Minutes" (2001)? The title originates from pop artist Andy Warhol's remark, "The day will come when everyone has 15 minutes of fame." Two low-lifes from the Czech Republic and Russia go on a murder and arson spree and document their slayings with a video camera they snatched from a store. They then sell the documentary to a broadcasting station for $1 million. The anchor of the station's news broadcast asserts that he televised the documentary according to his conscience as a journalist. The show posts a record high audience rating. "In America broadcasters can make money very quickly by making use of a criminal," the East European gangsters say in the film. The quote reveals the dark side of U.S. society.

The movie "8mm" (1999) deals with a murder instigated by a rich voyeur who is addicted to "snuff films," in which people are actually murdered.

A private TV station in Japan paid a thief to film the scene of his theft and then televised the film. The affair resulted not only from distorted competition between broadcasters over audience rating, which is closely related from advertising revenues, but is also a result of the prurient interest of audiences.

We should not only think that this is an affair only in a foreign country and just laugh. Recently, the scenes and conversations of Korean TV programs have also shown an alarming trend in this direction, and news reports often seem to have political motives behind them.

The writer is a deputy international news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Noh Jae-hyun

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