South Korea

The war on porn goes east

Strictly News (via) reports that both Russia and South Korea have given up trying to deal with the various social and economic issues they are facing and are cracking down on porn instead.

Russian politicians and public figures at all levels have been releasing regular, but ineffective, statements demanding an end to pornography for several years. But now the Russian culture ministry is drafting a bill to limit the distribution of erotic and pornographic products which they expect to be submitting in the second half of this year.

Meanwhile, the South Korean government has declared war on obscene material and has announced plans to block access to foreign pornography on the internet.

Ministry of Information and Communication information safety department head Lee Tae Hee also said measures would be taken to step up surveillance of the internet.

Thats handy.

Obscene confusion

The prosecution in the case of Ma Kwang-soo, a literature professor who was indicted in 2006 for posting obscene materials on his personal website, is now seeking guidelines for what constitutes obscenity.

The allegedly obscene postings on his Kwangma Club website include an explicit picture of a man and a woman and his sexually explicit novel Happy Sarah, which led to his imprisonment for obscenity in 1995.

When he was indicted in November, Ma said that he could not understand the standards the prosecution used to judge literary obscenity. “I thought legal standards had changed, as more than 10 years have passed since ‘Happy Sarah’ was ruled illegal by the court,” he said.

This led to the prosecution belatedly scurrying off to compare the case with other literary obscenity cases, thus extending the investigation.

Belittled by a blockbuster

The Guardian reports that a Christian group in South Korea has filed a court injunction against the film adaptation of The Da Vinci Code claiming that it defiles the sanctity of Jesus Christ and distorts facts.

The Da Vinci Code is a movie which belittles and tries to destroy Christianity, said the Rev Hong Jae-chul of the Christian Council of Korea, an umbrella group of over 60 Korean Protestant denominations.

The group has also called on other Christian groups to try and block the film, which stars Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou and Ian McKellen and is due to be released later this year.

Censored and censored again

According to The Melon Farmers, an online video provider in Korea has been ordered to pay a 7 million won ($7,000) fine for distributing obscene video files. These films had already been reviewed and rated by he Korea Media Rating Board (KMRB), but the court decided to overrule them.

Critics said the judges did not take into account the files’ approval by the rating authority. The Seoul Central District Court imposed the fines on the video provider, identified as Kim, for providing the videos which contain explicit’’ sexual acts between a woman and a man through the online portal sites.

A panel of judges said that the 30-40 minute-long videos, consisting of 12 pieces, have no meaningful story. They star a woman and a man who engage in sexual conversation without any prior contact, with repeated erotic sounds from the start to finish, thus having no artistic merit

So, in South Korea, you dont know if youll be breaking the law until youve broken it.