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Baring breasts on TV under guise of art not acceptable: culture minister

Culture Minister Sukumol Kunplome said yesterday that Thai society found the Sunday episode of Thailand Got Talent, featuring a female contestant painting on canvas with her bare breasts, unacceptable.

Hence, she said, the ministry would call a meeting with the show's organisers, editing crew and censoring agency to discuss the issue and find solutions.

The minister went on to say that since the show was broadcast in the evenings, many of the viewers were youngsters, and exposing them to such images was wrong. Therefore, she said, parents needed to explain to their children that though the 23yearold contestant claimed it was an expression of art, there should be some limits.

Sukumol also said the programme's producer should explain why inappropriate content like this was not edited out, because the show is not broadcast live. She said she was shocked to see the seminaked contestant facing the camera at one point.

Meanwhile, an informed source said many people had filed complaints via the 1765 hotline, urging the Culture Ministry to find out why inappropriate images were being aired during family time.

Rabiebrat Pongpanich, president of the Association of Happy and Warm Family Promotion, also slammed producers of the show of being far too focused on commercial gains, when an image like this should have been cut at the audition stage. She added that though it was up to the police to decide whether it was a criminally lewd act, the producers should apologise to the public. She also claimed that broadcasting images such as this was a reflection of society's addiction to sex.

Chalermchai Kositpipat, who was named national artist last year, said Thais might find it difficult to accept body painting as an art form, even though it was widely recognised overseas. However, he added that though the contestant's presentation may have been obscene, it wasn't really beautiful, interesting or valuable. He also said the woman did not really understand the essence of bodypainting as an art form and was focusing more on showing off her body instead of presenting her work as a piece of art and concentrating on its colours, lines, weight and texture.

From society's point of view, Chalermchai said the art of body painting might be considered inappropriate in Thailand, but at least people were discussing the subject and some might realise that not all paintings are made by hand.

Meanwhile, in response to the criticism, Workpoint Entertainment executive Panya Nirankul Workpoint Entertainment CEO Panya Nirunkul said yesterday that contestants would no longer be allowed to behave in a controversial manner in the show again. Besides, he said, Thailand Got Talent was not able to compete with other shows anyway.

"If I were a judge, I would certainly not let this show move to another round," he said, adding that the show was only being broadcast so some people could show off their talents.






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