People can make a story easily with just some basic clues. If the story is repeated, we tend to take it as fact. Media uses this technique well. Once a substantial story is made by edia, it is hard to erase its effect.
In summer 2014, a terrible incident was committed on the night train headed for Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. A 13 year-old girl was raped and murdered. After that, she was thrown out of the train. The criminal was a trainman, whose duty is to protect passengers' safety. Thailand was in shock, and many people argued that the criminal must be sentenced to death. One of them, Panadda Wongphudee, once a Miss Bangkok, tried to attract national interest toward violent crimes against women. To change laws, it is necessary to gather 10,000 signatures. Why she had to receive more than 130,000 signatures? She said, "Because I want people to know and to hear what is going on in this society."
Like she said, the rape crime rate in Thailand is quite high for Asia. In 2013, the number of sexual assaults on Thai women and children was 31,866, which means it happened 15 times per minute. The problem is a lukewarm attitude of the judicial authorities. They investigated 10% of reported incidents and arrested only 2,000 criminals out of the more than 30,000. WHY is sexual assault frequent in Thailand and WHY do people show a lukewarm attitude to notify and punish sexual crimes? Experts say that there is a special reason in Thailand. Surprisingly, TV drama is a main reason (of course, not every Thai drama). In Thai dramas, rape is directed as a romantic scene. Evenly, the rape scene is openly broadcasted at 9 p.m., when all of the family are gathered and watch TV.
Rape is obviously a violent crime. However, the rape scenes of Thai dramas are packed with romantic love. As we are off our guard and think that it happens only on TV, we are taught by a rape scene. Eventually, 20% of 2000 Thai youths said that the rape scene is their favorite. Experts argue that drama should convey social information. For example, showing how to notify police and accuse the criminal when a woman is raped in a drama.
Finally, in 2011, the Thai government regulated the rape scene 3 times per 1 hour. Producers are still opposed to the law because of the ratings.
In Korea, there are dramas which show stimulating scenes called Makjang drama. Some people don't take it seriously and say "it is just for fun." They should know Makjang drama is dangerous from the cases of Thailand. Media can habituate and persuade people easily and it will lead to fatal social problems.
Jeong Won-kyeong -
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