[EDITORIALS]X-rated movie planIt is fitting that the government has decided to support the local film industry in order to relieve the aftereffects of the reduced screen quota. Regardless of the 50 percent market share that Korean films enjoy in the domestic market, they are expected to be somewhat affected as a result of the quota cut.
But the problem lies in the government’s plans on how to provide support. It announced that it would raise 400 billion won ($400 million) over the next five years. The government would provide half that amount with tax money and the remainder would be raised by a 5-percent levy on ticket sales. The government’s plan to use public funds to support its idea is an acceptable one. Whether it diverts funds from other budget categories or increases the budget with the consent of the National Assembly is something for the administration to decide on.
The idea of allotting 5 percent of ticket sales for the fund, however, is irresponsible and seems to have been decided on only because it is convenient.
If the new plans lead to increases in ticket prices, the Korean people will be forced to pay another quasi-tax. Is there a justification for the people to be paying more taxes to go to the movies? The administration should have considered why the Korea Culture and Arts Promotion Fund, which was operated in a similar fashion, was ruled unconstitutional.
Even if the new policy doesn’t lead to higher ticket prices, as the government assures us, many questions still remain. It would require theaters to pay the five percent, clearly an increase in taxes, or bring on double taxation. The government’s logic that a lower screen quota favors theaters is even more groundless. It would be like arguing that the current success of the Korean movie “The King and the Clown” is because of the screen quota system.
Just as we acknowledge the inevitability of reducing the screen quota, we also recognize the need for plans to support the domestic film industry. The plans, however, must be those that can be accepted by not only the film industry but also the Korean people in general.
The current administration must return to the drawing board and come up with fundamental and long-term plans to prop up the movie industry.