Commission warns drama makers to tone down sensational contentTelevision dramas are meant to be suggestive rather than realistic. That’s what makes watching the nightly episodes fun ― although some are somewhat overexaggerated.
A government-led broadcasting commission last week said that some of the shows’ content went “beyond sensational” and that such dramas were making abnormal family relations appear typical.
Decide for yourself after reading the following plots of some popular soaps recently screened on Korean television.
In “Dear Heaven” on SBS, a mother sets up a marriage between her foster son and the daughter she secretly gave birth to before her marriage so they can live together again. In “Pure-hearted at 19” on KBS1, a son and his father fight over the woman they both love until the son “forfeits” in favor of his father. In “Famous Princesses” on KBS2, a father drags his young pregnant daughter back to her in-laws’ house, despite them having kicked her out. Another episode from the same drama showed a husband insulting his wife at a bar as payback for an affair he discovered she was involved in with his friend.
“We found problems in the content of some dramas, the viewer’s ratings and how the shows described family relationships,” said Chung Yeong-hui, a researcher at Ewha Womans University’s Media Research Center. She added that the shows were violent, libidinous and used vulgar language too often.
Ms. Chung was part of a discussion the Korea Broadcasting Commission held against the backdrop of increasing complaints from viewers that some of the stories on television were too bizarre to watch with their children.
The broadcasting commission warned the producers of “Famous Princesses” for airing “sexually biased” episodes. If the problem continues, the commission has the power to order a halt to broadcasts of the show.
Despite some complaints, however, Korean dramas top all other programs in popularity.
As of August, four broadcasting channels screened a total of 32 television dramas, which took up 14.3 percent, or almost 80 hours, of broadcast time.
Lee Ho-jun, a researcher at the Korean Broadcasting Commission, said viewer ratings for dramas on the four channels was also the highest, averaging almost 5 percent, while other genres including news, documentaries and comedies were as low as less than 10 percent and the highest barely drew 4 percent of viewers.
In a survey that asked what TV genre affected their lifestyles the most, the viewers polled chose drama (28.7 percent) over news (14.4 percent).
But viewers were not so generous in evaluating the quality or satisfaction of watching dramas. They gave an average of less than seven out of 10 for quality while all the other genres averaged more than that.
She urged that drama makers complete their filming (a lot of Korean dramas are made up of only 16 episodes) before the first episode airs.
She also said scouting for capable writers for a variety of themes was important. She cited “Delightful Girl Chun-hyang,” a remake of a traditional folk tale, as a good example.
“Dramas are important socially because they have the power to influence the public,” said Mr. Lee. “It is crucial to discuss this problem from a scientific view rather from from mere impressions and gossip.”
by Ha Hyun-ock，Lee Min-a
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