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Live Online Streaming Beyond Boundaries
[387호] 2017년 09월 06일 (수) Reporter Kang Min-seok nedraw22@

The live online streaming industry has been developing rapidly since it was introduced to the public. The main reason of its rapid growth was outstanding accessibility for both creators and viewers. While existing live online streaming websites such as Twitch and Afreeca are growing continuously, major websites such as YouTube, Kakao, and Naver have also entered the live online streaming market. However, there are not enough guidelines set for online streamers unlike pre-existing media such as newspaper or TV channels. Rapid growth of the live online streaming industry was not expected by policymakers and caused a lack of regulation to keep the environment healthy.
Recently, there was a murder and attempted rape committed by a viewer of one Broadcasting Jockey(BJ). The victim was a female owner of a waxing shop who made an appearance in the BJ’s stream. The criminal was a male around the age of thirty who watched the stream. The criminal disguised himself as a customer and committed the crime. Even though there was no legal liability on the BJ, there were criticisms about emphasizing the sexual aspect of the owner on his stream.
Also, YouTube streamers recently evoked public criticism because of hate speech and death threats. A female streamer who was known for hate speech against men became controversial in online communities. False information about the streamer including an address and a photo spread out, and other male streamers threatened to kill herfor her hateful speeches. Male streamers searching for the female streamer was streamed live on YouTube, and the situation ended after the police took him to a police station.
The contents of live online streaming are getting harsher than they were before. Some streamers broadcast harsh content such as nuisance calls or doxing and make a profit out of it. This harsh content causes harm to others by itself, but also influences the viewers of stream. Especially, young viewers who can get easily affected by online streams and may copy the behavior of streamers. According to the Korea Press Foundation, 1 out of 4 teens watch internet broadcasts frequently.
Currently websites offering live online streaming service voluntarily regulate excessively violent or sexual content. However, there are criticisms that voluntary regulation is not the optimal measure. It is impossible to block harmful content before it gets uploaded or streamed, and live online streaming services tend to avoid banning popular streamers because they make a lot of profit from them.
Government and media experts both argue that legal regulation with actual effectiveness is required to maintain a live streaming environment in a healthy state. Lee Hyo-seong, the chairman of Korea Communications Commission, mentioned in personnel hearing held on Jul. 19 that “because Internet broadcast has considerably grown up and has a large social impact, now it is time to regulate it after consultation with concerned agencies.”
While there are concerns about violating freedom of expression, new legal regulations on live online streaming will be made and may alter the streaming environment.
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