BTS at the set

Why are these 5 K-Pop songs banned from TV?

From showing too much skin to 'offensive language', South Korean TV stations have conservative policies when it comes to freedom of expression. They have banned a number of songs such as 'Dope' by BTS, 'Gentleman' from PSY and 'Boombayah' by Blackpink. Most of these songs have millions of views on music streaming platforms like YouTube and Spotify, so why are these songs considered 'dangerous' for society? Read more below to find out!  

  • A poll in 2020 revealed that more than 2000 songs were banned in a year.
  • Famous bands like BTS, Blackpink and NCT have faced this ban as well.
  • According to Government Youth Commission in South Korea, any video or song that glamorizes violence or invokes sexualization is banned to be aired on National Television. 

BTS' Dope:

It has more than 600 million views on YouTube but still couldn't make it to the Korean Television. The reason?

The lyrics that translated to 'All the weak, loser, whiny idiots'. These were considered disturbing words by Korean broadcast rules. 

In a detailed statement from Government Youth Commission, songs that contain the following elements are banned by any broadcasting channel in the country,

'stimulates sex desire or [are] sexually explicit to youth', 'urges violence or crime to youth', or 'glamorizes violence such as rape, and drugs' or 'publicizes the brands'

Blackpink's Boombayah:

Blackpink on stage

The top hit song from Blackpink's album 'Blackpink in your area', 'Boombayah' was banned by the Korean shows due to the mention of alcoholic brand 'Hennessyin the line 'Bottle full of Henny'. They claimed that Henny is a slang word for Hennessy.

Similarly, another point was raised that the song includes some vulgar phrases such as

'Middle finger up, F U, pay me'.

Blackpink on set

Since it included branding and explicit words, it got banned from all the TV shows. However, the song got more than a billion views on YouTube since its debut in 2016. So regardless of the ban, fans still enjoyed the song!

BTS' Pied Piper:

BTS at the set

The 2017 release of the band got banned from the TV shows in South Korea because of the commercial use of brand names such as Twitter, V-app, and Bon Voyage. The law behind it? 

'don't publicize brands' 

BTS posing for the camera

We love this song, motivates fans to chase their dreams and not waste time just by watching their content. 

BIGBANG's Fxxk It:

BIGBANG at the show

So for all the obvious reasons, this song wasn't allowed to be performed at Korean TV shows: explicit use of language and commercial branding. The music video even blurred some of the magazines which were used as a prop because it wasn't suitable even for the audience over the Internet. 

BIGBANG posing for the camera

Well, it's understandable that some countries have restrictions for such explicit content, but fans enjoyed the song anyway. It has over 195 million views on YouTube since its release in 2016.

T.O.P's Turn It Up:

T.O.P in the music video

Korean TV shows refused to air the performance for this song because the song showcased the names of famous brands like Gucci, Beats, and Dior , against the governmental regulations.

T.O.P singing the song

However, this song was the fans' top favorite when it was released in 2010 and has more than 25 million views on YouTube. These views are a great deal since K-pop wasn't that popular 11 years ago!

Extra: Dal Shabet's Joker:

Dal Shabet in the video

Surprisingly, this song didn't include any mention of brands or explicit language, but it was still banned from the television..

The reason turns out to be the use of the term 'Joker' because it sounds like Korean slang which means male genitals. 

Dal Shabet looking adorable

We think that music labels should be careful about the laws because after the release, these bans really affect the promotion of the songs.

In conclusion, these bans speak a lot about the freedom of expression the media has in South Korea. What are your thoughts on it? Let us know in the comments below and check out next other songs that are banned from the Korean TV shows!


Estefanía Martínez

K-pop enthusiast, you too? Well, hello there, best friend! Follow me for all the awesome updates in the k-world.+ info

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