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Government unveils new standards for censoring K-pop songs

Oct. 17, 2011 - 17:23 By

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- The government has established new detailed rules for censoring domestic pop songs harmful to minors in order to enhance the objectivity of the process, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family said on Monday.

The ministry has come under fire for applying too strict standards when choosing local music albums to ban from being sold to those younger than 19.

The ministry said the new rules focused on giving narrow latitude to officials in determining harmful songs and enhancing the objectivity of their decisions.

The 14-part rules prohibit songs containing obscene expressions; descriptions of sex, murder or assault; and too many slang words, among others, according to the ministry in charge of protecting minors.

As for lyrics containing such words as "alcohol" or "tobacco," the government will only regulate songs "that are directly and concretely meant to encourage drinking or smoking" or "that give detailed descriptions of, justify or beautify violent, sexual or aberrant behaviors that happen subsequent to drinking," according to the new rules.

The ministry said it gathered opinions from Korean language scholars, school teachers, parents and music industry figures to set up the rules.

It had the first censoring meeting on Tuesday last week after the new rules were made and deemed 35 K-pop songs as materials harmful to minors, officials said.

But there were no cases declared harmful during the meeting due to lyrics related to drinking or smoking, they added.

By law, music albums classified as being "harmful" also cannot be aired on television and radio before 10 p.m. every night.