Crackdown on odd, vulgar videos

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Crackdown on odd, vulgar videos

Having sex with a teenager or eating a lightbulb are among the things people are doing on live-streaming videos in order to increase their traffic and authorities are developing policies to crack down on such behavior.

Early this year, two men were apprehended for live-streaming videos of them having sex with an 18-year-old female student. They were reported at the time to have advertised beforehand that they would stream the content, and they received payment from interested viewers.

Some male broadcasters live-stream or upload videos of themselves carrying out abnormal feats, such as one male broadcaster who has built up over 1 million Facebook followers by performing stunts such as eating lightbulbs or playing near speeding cars. He began to live-stream his exploits on AfreecaTV but was permanently suspended by the website in 2015.

The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family adopted a new policy to monitor and crackdown on vulgar and obscene content found on individual broadcasting websites and video distribution platforms. It hosted a meeting on Thursday with Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-an, announcing the special policy to protect adolescents.

“The ministry will be cooperating with internet broadcasting websites and encourage them to voluntarily report [vulgar and lewd contents],” said Kim Sung-byuk, director of the Youth Protection Department at the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.

On Internet broadcasting websites such as AfreecaTV, Daum tvPot and CJ E&M Dia TV, individual users can upload videos or live-streaming content. The service is not limited to Korea, either; Google’s Youtube, Amazon’s Twitch and IBM’s UStream are all popular Internet broadcasting websites.

The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, along with Korea Communications Commission, will be cooperating to monitor such websites and video distribution platforms.

“We will be starting with warnings, but if individual broadcasters do not follow the rules, we will suspend them from using the broadcasting websites,” said Kim Sung-byuk.

“There’s a difference between illegal content and legal content that is harmful to adolescents.” Kim added. “Illegal content is usually not uploaded in Korea, but by overseas servers.”

In addition to monitoring and censuring vulgar Internet broadcasting content, the special policy to protect adolescents will also monitor the online sale of drugs, pornography and electronic cigarettes manufactured at home. The ministry will also be cracking down on new types of brothels that authorities are having a hard time dealing with, called kiss-rooms, glass-rooms and ear-cleaning-rooms, because owners can register these institutes as such in order to mask their actual activities, as many so-called massage parlors also do.

“[One way to crack down] would be to ban them from advertising phone numbers on the store signs, and to inspect their businesses to ensure no underage adolescent is accepted as a customer,” Kim said.

BY HWANG SOO-YEON [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]

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