The Korean government stated it jointly prepared a plan to improve the protection of rights and interests of underage celebrities and reported it to the 119th Government Evaluation Committee. The plan was pushed forward with the awareness that in order for the pop culture and arts industry to grow healthy, it is necessary to protect the rights and interests of underage entertainers and others who are the foundation for the growth of the new K-culture wave.
With the movie 'Parasite' winning the Oscars, Korean dramas topping the most-watched lists on Netflix, and BTS topping the Billboard charts, there has been an increasing number of underaged individuals who want to work in the pop culture and arts industry. This number is expected to increase along with the recent increase in K-culture popularity, but there has been a rise in concerns over the young individuals being exposed to the dark side of the industry such as fraudulent activity demanding money and valuables under the pretext of a debut or appearing on television.
Under the auspices of the Office for Government Policy Coordination, the "Improvement and protection of rights and interests for underaged celebrities and minors" is being prepared through consultations with related ministries, including the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Broadcasting and Communications Commission, along with private associations and organizations. The act calls for eradicating illegal activities by expanding information disclosure on entertainment agencies.
It will add information that aspiring celebrities can refer to the pop culture and arts information system, which only discloses official information such as the company name and registration number of the agency. In addition, the government will overhaul its registered agencies every year and include entertainment institutes (such as training school agencies) to resolve the blind spots in the entertainment field.
In addition, the government will continue to seek measures to crack down on unregistered agencies, including the introduction of special law enforcement police, by internalizing compliance with the employment restriction system for sex offenders and imposing fines on them.
In the entry and contract stages, transparent and fair audition practices will be established and unfair contracts will be prevented by increasing the utilization of standard contracts. The government will strengthen protection for minors by preparing standard contracts for broadcast appearances for these underaged celebrities, and increase actual utilization by reviewing and supplementing standard contracts for other pop culture artists every three years.
During the debut and promotion stage, the government will strengthen the protection of underage celebrities from violations of their right to rest, right to study, and illegal activities such as sexual harassment and sexual assault. They will also protect underaged celebrities from harsh labor such as overworking and night shooting for long periods of time. Specific guidelines on the protection of underage celebrities' right to rest and study, declared by the "Popular Culture Industry Act," will be prepared and applied accordingly.
In particular, the government plans to set up guidelines for broadcasting standard production for major broadcasters to protect the rights and interests of underage celebrities. Finally, counseling will be extended to psychological counseling for celebrities who feel uncertainties about the future, stress from being exposed to social activities early in life, and concerns about giving up their debut so that underage celebrities and trainees can receive the proper psychological and emotional support they need.
The government will check the detailed progress of each ministry on the improvement plan on a semi-annual basis so that these measures can improve the protection of rights and interests of underage celebrities without a hitch in the future.