Overhaul the restriction guidelineThe government has the lifted age censorship on about 300 Korean pop songs, including “Right Now” by Psy, who recently gained international stardom and dominated musical charts around the world with his latest hit song “Gangnam Style.”
The Youth Protection Board under the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family reviewed the songs that are restricted to listeners who are 19 years old or older because of lyrics considered inappropriate and harmful to minors before October of last year.
Anyone can now listen and access the music and their videos through YouTube and other online platforms without providing verification of age.
The ministry’s move, suspected of being influenced by Psy’s newfound fame, is being criticized for lacking consistency and principle. The ministry explained that the re-examination was based on new guidelines on musical lyrics and video files.
The two-year-term board members were replaced in August and they made a fresh review of the R-rated music. Whatever the reason, the ministry has undeniably lost face.
It is inarguable that we need an administrative fence to protect children and teenagers from the cascade of violent, lewd and hazardous material.
But the government censors are pitiful in their so-called protective actions. They ban music with a single mention of alcohol and cigarettes.
The ministry lost four administrative lawsuit cases from petitioners who demanded lifting the censorship last year. The ministry ridiculously obliged with the court ruling and lifted the sanction without explaining the reasons for the decision. Its action is self-explanatory how rash and groundless its censorship guideline has been.
The ministry assures that with its new set of screening guidelines, there won’t be questionable censoring actions in the future.
But it cannot avoid controversy because censorship is largely based on the subjective perspectives of the board members, which guarantees that another spate of controversy and legal fighting will continue.
If that’s the case, the ministry needs to come up with an objective and effective set of restrictive measures to protect the minors from hazardous material. To achieve the goal, it could work with the music industry to draw up the guideline.
Indiscriminate - and authoritative - censorship no longer works today. The government must stay abreast of the cultural trend to meet the cultural challenges of the times.