The annual Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) has been mired in controversy after its organizer admitted that online voting fraud has occurred that could unduly influence the results.
Korean TV channel Mnet announced that ballot rigging has occurred from October 26 to November 1.
The MAMA honors mostly K-pop artists with awards including Artist, Album and Song of the Year. Winners are determined by a combination of users' online votes, votes by judges, digital chart data and album/song sales.
Online voting started last October 19 and will end on November 28, and last night, MWave announced that it will delete the fraudulent votes although it did not identify for which artists the fake votes went.
"More than 180 countries around the world are joining 2017 MAMA On-line Vote. From October 26, 2017 to November 1, 2017, the ballot rigging have occurred," it said. "To eliminate those fake ballots, system check-up is scheduled."
A system check to delete the fake votes will be done on November 3 and "during the hours of system check-up, all of the services on Mwave, including the MAMA Vote are not available." Mnet also added that MAMA sponsor Qoo10's voting will temporarily stop.
"If the ballot rigging keep occurs, the number of fake ballots will be deleted, IP will be blocked, and the member ID will be permanently deleted," Mnet warned.
MAMA started in 1999 as "Mnet Music Video Daesang" and then became "Mnet KM Music Video Festival" in 2004, the "Mnet KM Music Festival" in 2006, and "Mnet Asian Music Awards" in 2009, according to the official website.
This year's awards will be held in three countries. The 2017 MAMA Premiere will be held in Vietnam on November 25 followed by 2018 MAMA in Japan on November 29 before 2017 MAMA in Hong Kong on December 1.