A revised set of guidelines, issued by the South Korean Government for the local broadcasters and TV show producers, have been withdrawn after it faced criticism. One of its clauses suggested the restriction on the number of K-pop idols appearing on a TV show at any given time.
The Korean Times, reported that the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family (MOGEF) released the revised guidelines on Saturday, February 16 and their main aim was to prevent lookism, which means prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of a person's appearance, as well as to raise awareness on the negative effects of this on public health.
As per the guidelines, "Are the singers on TV music shows twins? They seriously look identical. Most are idol group members."
It also added that "Most of them are skinny and have similar hairstyles and makeup with outfits exposing their bodies."
These guidelines have been withdrawn after critics said that it looked like the state censorship of a booming industry, which is responsible for a multi-billion-dollar business.
An opposition lawmaker, Ha Tae-keung strongly criticised the guidelines while stating that there was no objective standard for appearance and it was a matter of individual taste, so it should not be regulated by the government.
The guidelines also drew criticism online as a Facebook user posted, "The gender ministry says K-pop idols should not star together on television because they are all skinny and pretty with pale skin. What's the difference between this and the crackdowns on the length of hair and skirts during the military dictatorship of Chun Doo-hwan?"
It should be noted that until the late 1980s, the word censorship was a part of every South Korean society and the state used to control everything from what could be screened on TV to the length of the hair of an individual.
An online critic said that "It is truly surprising that South Korea is doing what communist dictatorships, like China and North Korea, would consider doing."
However, on Tuesday, February 19 the ministry stated that would withdraw the guidelines after it caused unnecessary confusion. But they added that the ministry neither has the intention nor the authority to control TV production. While providing clarification they also stated that it only tried to prevent the media, "which has a big influence on people's daily life, from undermining human rights or fostering discrimination unintentionally."