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What is censored in Korea?


In recent years, Korea has become a global cultural powerhouse, with K-pop, K-dramas, and Korean movies gaining immense popularity worldwide. However, the country is also known for its strict censorship laws, which regulate the content that can be aired or published in the country. This article will explore what is censored in Korea and why.

History of Censorship in Korea

Censorship in Korea dates back to the Joseon Dynasty, where the government controlled the dissemination of information. During the Japanese occupation of Korea, censorship was used as a tool to suppress Korean culture and promote Japanese ideology. After the Korean War, censorship laws were enacted to protect national security and public morality.

Types of Censorship in Korea

There are various types of censorship in Korea, including pre-publication censorship, post-publication censorship, and self-censorship. Pre-publication censorship refers to the screening of content before it is released to the public. Post-publication censorship refers to the removal or alteration of content that has already been released. Self-censorship occurs when creators voluntarily refrain from producing controversial content.

Censored Topics in Korea

The topics that are censored in Korea include politics, religion, sex, violence, and North Korea. The government also restricts access to certain websites and social media platforms. In addition, Korean broadcasters are required to air a certain percentage of educational programming.

Political Censorship

Political censorship is a major issue in Korea. The National Security Law is used to censor content that is deemed to be pro-North Korea or anti-government. This law has been criticized for being overly broad and violating freedom of expression.

Religious Censorship

Religious censorship is also prevalent in Korea. The government restricts the distribution of religious materials that are deemed to be “cult-like” or harmful to public order. The government also monitors religious groups that are deemed to be a threat to national security.

Sexual Censorship

Sexual censorship is another area where Korea has strict laws. Pornography is illegal in Korea, and websites that contain adult content are blocked. In addition, Korean dramas and movies are required to maintain a certain level of decency.

Violence Censorship

Violence censorship is also enforced in Korea. The government restricts the distribution of violent video games and films. Korean broadcasters are also required to air warnings before airing violent content.

North Korea Censorship

North Korea is a sensitive topic in Korea, and content that is deemed to be sympathetic towards North Korea is censored. In addition, the government restricts access to North Korean websites.

Censorship and Free Speech

Censorship laws in Korea have been criticized for violating freedom of expression. Critics argue that censorship laws stifle creativity and limit the diversity of opinions in the country.

Impact of Censorship on Korean Society

Censorship has had a significant impact on Korean society. Some argue that censorship has helped maintain social stability and protect public morality. Others argue that censorship has limited artistic expression and stifled political discourse.

The Future of Censorship in Korea

The future of censorship in Korea is uncertain. With the rise of social media and online platforms, it has become increasingly difficult for the government to control the dissemination of information. However, the government continues to enforce strict censorship laws.


In conclusion, censorship in Korea is a complex issue with multiple factors at play. While some argue that censorship is necessary to protect national security and public morality, others argue that it violates freedom of expression. As Korea continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how censorship laws adapt to changing societal norms and technological advancements.

Are cigarettes censored in Korea?

In the past, the government of South Korea did not have strict regulations regarding tobacco control. However, they have implemented new rules such as higher cigarette prices, increased taxes on tobacco products, smoking bans, and restrictions on tobacco advertisements in stores.

Which BTS songs are banned on Korean TV?

The South Korean broadcast of BTS’s song “Converse High” was prohibited due to the inclusion of brand names such as ‘Converse’, ‘Alexander McQueen’, and ‘Chanel F’ in the lyrics. Similarly, BTS’s song “Cypher Pt3: Killer” was banned for its inappropriate language and use of brand names.

Is vaping illegal in Korea?

In South Korea, e-cigarettes that contain nicotine are categorized as tobacco products and cannot be sold to individuals under the age of 19.

Is vaping common in Korea?

According to a study, 9.4% of Korean teenagers have used e-cigarettes at least once, with 8% using both e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes and 1.4% using only e-cigarettes. Of all the participants, 4.7% were currently using e-cigarettes (3.6% as dual users and 1.1% as e-cigarette only users) in the past 30 days as of November 22, 2013.

What is the legal drinking age in Korea?

Individuals in Korea are legally allowed to consume alcohol at the age of 19. While it is permissible to consume alcohol in public, causing chaos while inebriated can lead to significant fines and a mandatory visit to the local police station.

What is the biggest scandal in Korea?

The Burning Sun scandal, also referred to as Burning Sun gate, occurred in 2019 in Seoul, South Korea and involved numerous celebrities, including K-pop idols, and officials in law enforcement. This scandal was the biggest controversy in the history of the K-pop industry.

One factor that may impact the future of censorship in Korea is the country’s international reputation. As Korea becomes more globally influential, there may be pressure from other countries to relax censorship laws and allow for greater freedom of expression. This could be especially true in the entertainment industry, where Korean content has gained immense popularity worldwide.

Another factor that could impact the future of censorship in Korea is the country’s political climate. With recent changes in leadership and ongoing tensions with North Korea, there may be a push towards greater or lesser censorship depending on the government’s priorities.

It is also important to note that while censorship can have negative effects on artistic expression and free speech, it can also have some positive impacts. For example, censorship can be used to protect vulnerable populations from harmful content or to prevent the spread of false information.

Ultimately, the future of censorship in Korea is likely to be shaped by a complex interplay of cultural, political, and technological factors. While it is impossible to predict exactly how these factors will interact, it is clear that censorship will continue to be a contentious issue in Korean society for years to come.

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