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The Blue House has released a statement in response to the national petition against the broadcast of JTBC’s upcoming drama “Snowdrop.”

“Snowdrop,” scheduled to premiere in the second half of this year, is set in Seoul in 1987. Jung Hae In stars as Soo Ho, a student at a prestigious university who rushes into a female dorm one day covered in blood. BLACKPINK’s Jisoo plays Young Cho, the university student who hides him and takes care of his wounds despite facing danger and close surveillance. Yoo In Na stars as Kang Chung Ya, a surgeon at a state-run hospital.

When parts of the synopsis began to circulate online, concerns about a potential distortion of historical facts were raised. Based on the information that was being spread at the time, the male lead was a spy who has infiltrated the activist movement, while another male character was a team leader at the Agency for National Security Planning (NSP) but is described as being straightforward and just. 1987 was a key year in South Korea’s popular democratic movement that led to the establishment of the present-day republic. The NSP would have been part of the authoritarian regime at the time.

In March, JTBC had released a brief statement clarifying the content and intentions behind the drama, as well as a more detailed statement revealing specific information about the drama’s plot to counter the suspicions.

The statement issued by the Blue House on July 28 also mentions the petition against “Joseon Exorcist,” which was canceled by SBS after airing two episodes due to the controversy over potential distortion of history in the drama.

Read the Blue House statement below:

This is an answer to the two national petitions related to “requests to suspend the broadcast of a drama.”

In the petition “Broadcast suspension of ‘Joseon Exorcist,’ the petitioner stated that the drama “distorted history and consisted of content and screens that suggest an acceptance of China’s Northeast Project” and requested that the broadcast be suspended and prevented from recurring. Approximately 240,000 citizens signed the petition.

The petitioner in the petition titled “Suspension of filming of ‘Snowdrop’” stated, “It is insulting the democratic movement and attempting to glorify the Agency for National Security Planning (NSP),” and asked to stop the drama from filming. Approximately 220,000 citizens signed the petition.

On March 26, the broadcasting company that aired “Joseon Exorcist” decided to cancel the drama’s broadcast after considering the severity of the distortion of historical facts. The broadcasting company that will be airing “Snowdrop” has stated, “The current controversy has resulted from fragmentary information such as an incomplete synopsis and parts from the character descriptions,” and that “it is not a drama that disparages the pro-democracy movement or glamorizes being a spy or working for the NSP.” The drama is currently being produced.

Article 4 of the Broadcasting Act guarantees the broadcasting station’s freedom and independence of broadcast programming and states that it is not possible to regulate or interfere with the broadcast programming without complying with the conditions as prescribed by the Act. The government’s direct involvement in creative work especially requires a careful approach as it can be an infringement on freedom of expression. The government respects the self-correction efforts and autonomous decisions made at a civilian level by the creator, producer, or consumer regarding content that goes against national sentiment.

However, broadcasts that undermine the public responsibility of broadcasts or violate regulations, such as by excessive distortion of history, requires deliberation by the Korea Communications Standards Commission (KCSC). According to the administrative office of the KCSC, close to 5,000 complaints have been filed by viewers regarding the already-aired “Joseon Exorcist” [episodes]. Due to delays in forming the members of the fifth KCSC, a review has not been carried out yet, but as soon as the committee is formed, we will set an agenda and discuss whether or not the drama violated broadcast regulations. The KCSC will thoroughly review the broadcast’s impartiality, public nature, and other factors of public responsibility through the complaints submitted by viewers and further monitoring.

Moving forward, the government will continue to communicate with artists and citizens so that healthy discussions about creative work can take place.

We thank all of the citizens who took part in the national petitions.

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