By Kim Tong-hyung
The government is vowing stricter control on television materials amid growing viewer complaints over sex, violence and indecency.
Although the strengthened decency standards will be enforced to all national, local and cable channels, the Korea Communications Standards Commission (KCSC) said, the dramas and game shows on national networks clearly seem to be the biggest targets.
It remains to be seen how television stations will react to the plan of heavier fines and sanctions, as they have been moaning that the commission's decency rules were vague and curbing creativity.
However, KCSC was under pressure to take stronger action to clear up the airwaves, with an increasing number of national television programs being slammed for their disturbing content and offensive language.
The debate over taste and decency has reached a point where extreme dramas and blunt game shows have become part of daily vocabulary here.
"Extreme dramas, based on plots about twisted relationships between men and women and between family members, and the nasty game shows that allow emcees and participants to use foul language and rant about trivial subjects, are the specific targets", said a KCSC spokesman, adding that the war against nasty programs would be indefinite.
"We will continue to monitor these programs and also announce the number of violations by each television network and individual entertainers appearing in game shows".
Adultery, corruption and vengeance have been popular themes for day-time and evening television dramas recently as networks engaged in a heated competition over viewer ratings.
The MBC drama "What's for Dinner?
?", airing from Mondays to Fridays, is based on a complicated plot of love and betrayal between its five main characters, and is sustained by a chaotic mixture of sex, violence, suicides and random car crashes.
After the stimulating show "Temptation of Wife
", a drama based on the story of a death-defying woman who returns to unleash misery on her cheating husband and the mistress who tossed her to die at sea, SBS is now betting on the same formula with "Temptation of an Angel
SBS admits that the latter is a "male version" of "Temptation of Wife
", and the early episodes of the new drama are certainly heavy in sexual content and violence.
Both "Bab Jo" and "Temptation of an Angel
" are currently being reviewed to determine if fines or sanctions are necessary, KCSC officials said. Among game shows, MBC's "Three Wheels" and "Golden Fishing Ground", and SBS' "Star Junior Show" are being reviewed.