South Korea to crack down on “sexy” performances by minors

Proposed revisions to the existing Youth Protection Law would slap an R-rating on films, music videos and TV shows that placed an exaggerated sexual emphasis on young singers and bands they feature.

An official at the ministry of gender equality and family, Lee Ill-Hyun, said the move would encourage self-regulation, as producers would have to tone down performances or suffer a rating that cuts out the teenage audience they target.

The revised law would apply to videos and shows that "excessively highlight certain body parts of minors and depict them as sexual subjects", the ministry said in a statement.

Lee specifically cited images that zoom in on the breasts or hips of performers aged 18 or under.

The R-rating would mean that such material can only be sold to people aged over 18 or, in the case of TV shows, could only be broadcast late at night.

Internet viewers would be required to type in social security numbers to prove their age.

"It is aimed at curbing the exploitation of underage entertainers as some are known to be forced to perform overly sexual dance moves," Lee said.

"Most fans of these young stars are teenagers. If the artists are practically banned from showing their performances to them, there will be less incentive for agents to produce such sexual choreography," he said.

South Korea's K-pop scene, which has been exported with enormous success across Asia and beyond, is dominated by young girl and boy bands whose members are sometimes as young as 13 or 14 years old.

Lee said the various state committees that already monitor the entertainment industry would eventually come up with rules detailing what sort of footage constituted "excessive" highlighting of body parts.

The watchdog Korea Communications Standards Commission last month proposed a new rule barring minors from appearing on TV wearing "overly skimpy outfits" or "demonstrating overly sexual scenes".

In April, a state ratings board limited attendance at a concert in Seoul by US pop diva Lady Gaga to those over 18 years of age. – Sapa-AFP

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