July 31, 2005 20:34
In an unprecedented affront to Korea’s conservative mores, two members of a punk rock band lived up to their music’s history of subversion when they exposed their private parts on live TV during family viewing time on Saturday.
Punk rockers RUX were performing at about 4:15 when two members of another band named Couch including a 20-year-old man identified as Oh appeared on stage and took off their pants, one prancing all over the stage naked while the other had his trousers around his ankles. The cameras caught some four seconds of their display before panning away to the audience.
MBC has apologized several times for an incident it says was wholly unintentional, saying on its homepage the actions had been unpredictable and the situation beyond its control. Online discussion forums and the “Music Camp” web board were nonetheless flooded with messages castigating MBC for its lapse.
Incensed viewers said an apology was not enough and the broadcaster should be punished. Some asked how MBC proposed to compensate teenagers, the largest age group watching the show, for the emotional shock they sustained. The two Couch members were arrested, as was the RUX lead singer for inviting them on stage, and are being investigated for violating public decency.
However, the Korean Broadcasting Commission will be virtually powerless to punish the broadcaster. When U.S. pop star Janet Jackson flashed one of her breasts on national TV in the United States, the Federal Communications Commission fined broadcaster CBS US$550,000. But Korea's broadcast law says nothing about fines. Prof. Jung Yoon-sik of Kangwon National University said Europe, too, responds with severe sanctions to broadcasting of obscene material, including suspending advertising and shutting down stations.
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