- On April 20, the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism approved a new bill.
- The new “Lee Seung-gi Situation Prevention Law” limits the working hours of underage K-pop idols.
- The bill also prohibits ‘health threatening’ acts that place ‘undue emphasis’ on one’s appearance.
On Thursday, a bill to protect underage K-pop idols from exploitation was passed in South Korea.
The Culture, Sports and Tourism Committee of the National Assembly approved the “Pop Culture and Arts Industry Development Law” during a plenary session, according to a South Korean media outlet. yonhap.
Also known as the “Lee Seung-gi Crisis Prevention Law,” the newly passed law aims to prevent celebrities from suffering harm as a result of exploitative contracts by reinforcing financial transparency.
The act is named after singer Lee, who was under a “slave contract” in which he was never paid for his music for more than 18 years of his career, according to the K-pop news outlet. koreaboo.
The amendment also strengthened requirements aimed at protecting the rights and interests of underage workers in Korea’s entertainment industry by reducing the number of working hours, according to Yonhap, citing the committee.
Previously, artists under the age of 15 could work up to 35 hours a week, while those over the age of 15 could work 40 hours a week.
Under the new amendment, artists under the age of 12 can work up to 25 hours a week, up to 6 hours a day. Those aged 12-15 are allowed 30 hours a week, while those over 15 can work 35 hours a week, both age groups are capped at 7 hours a day. In addition, the law prohibits any infringement of the educational rights of underage artists by forcing them to be absent or drop out of school, according to Yonhap.
Meanwhile, in the US, children in California are not allowed to work more than five consecutive days in entertainment or related industries, and are only excused up to five absences per school year, according to the US Department of Labor.
But many productions often manage to find ways around these labor laws, such as hiring teachers on set to replace typical education in school, NPR.
The South Korean amendment also prohibits any act that could threaten the health and safety of minors, including placing undue emphasis on children’s physical appearance. Assault, abusive language and sexual harassment are among the other prohibitions listed in the law. Art and pop culture companies are now mandated to appoint a person in charge of youth protection who will help ensure the human rights of young artists, according to Yonhap.
“This amendment will abolish the absurd industry practices behind the development of K content and provide an environment where children and young pop culture artists can pursue their dreams while protecting their human rights,” said Park Bo-gyun, Minister of Culture of the country. , Sports and Tourism, by way of South Korea maeil business.
K-pop idols often undergo extremely strict diets, grueling training programs, and come under intense scrutiny, as previously reported on Well-informed person.
The youngest member of the popular K-pop girl band NewJeans, Hyein, just turned 15 on April 21. The group was recently named global ambassador for major brands such as levi’s and Coca Colaaccording to Lifestyle Asia.
This bill was passed amid growing public concerns about the health and safety of minors in the highly demanding Korean entertainment industry, as companies continue to introduce K-pop idols at younger ages.