South Korea Starts 'War Against Pornography'

Tod Hunter
SEOUL, South Korea — The South Korean government has started a multilevel "war against pornography," intended "to fight against lewd material on television, the Internet and elsewhere, in order to prevent children from accessing sexually explicit content that sometimes leads to sex crimes," according to the Korea Times.

An expected 3,300 experts will be investigating user-created clips and other video material by the end of the month. Portal websites and peer-to-peer program managers will be required to screen out adult material. Video clips uploaded from overseas IP addresses will be censored.

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said Wednesday that more surveillance cameras will be installed at schools to watch over possible sexual assaults, and the government will provide software to block lewd material online. More counselors will be placed at schools to talk about sexual problems with the students starting in July. The education authorities said more than $233 million will be allotted for the plan.

The Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs, focused on cable television providers, has established a new "Youth Protection Timeline" where TV stations cannot air lewd programs from 6 a.m. to midnight, The current rules restrict programming between 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends and holidays.

The revision is based on new research results indicating more than 38 percent of programs aired between 10 p.m. and midnight in 2007 were "inappropriate for children to watch." Korean Broadcasting Institute research indicated that 34 percent of viewers in that time period were underage, dropping to 18.5 percent between midnight and 2 a.m.

The government crackdown came after offenders in recent gang rapes among elementary school students in Daegu testified that they got ideas from pornography online and erotic films on cable television. Separate research by the Ministry of Health in 2007 said 88 percent of teens that have watched pornography said they got it online.