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Moral crackdown hits stage VNTimes


Holding pattern: Models strut their stuff. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is planning to issue permits to singers and models to participate in art performances, starting from January next year. — Photo

HA NOI (VNS)— With more and more artists committing violations like lip-syncing, wearing scanty clothes and making shocking statements, singers and models may soon have to earn the right to perform.

To get a permit, artists would have to meet three conditions: leading a moral life, proving their talent through performance and never having had their work permit revoked (applied to those who were granted permit in 2000-2003).

Artists who broke the rules would have their work permits suspended from six months to two years. In cases of serious offense, artists would face fines up to VND10 million (US$500) or see their permits revoked forever.

Singers and models would be the first performers subject to the restriction, which would eventually apply to all artists, said Nguyen Dang Chuong, head of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism's Department of Performing Arts. People's Artists, Meritorious Artists and those who possessed other State titles would automatically receive permits.

In a video conference this week, the ministry collected comments on the plan, which will serve as the basis for another meeting in July. The project will be completed by September and go into effect in January.

According to Chuong, the move aims to curb a recent spate of violations that "badly affected the spiritual life of the audience" and "stirred up public opinion".

In 1999, the ministry granted work permits to thousands of artists, both those working in State-owned art organisations and freelance artists. But the work permits were annulled in 2002, as they did not achieve the desired effect.


A few artists applauded the measure, like former model Le Quang Tu, director of New Talent Company, who said that it would "help artists become more aware of professional ethics and expertise".

But others opposed it for a variety of reasons. Singer Hoang Anh Tuan questioned the proposal's "vague" contents.

"The three conditions are easy for anyone to satisfy. How do you define good morals or ability to perform on the stage? I don't think that this idea is a good way to manage artists. Artists can easily obtain the permit, so they may not feel proud of it," he said.

People's Artist Tran Binh objected to the plan on the grounds that it singled out individual artists and models, rather than show organizers, who should really be held responsible for violations.

People's Artist Thanh Lam, a singer, said that the work permit was unnecessary for trained artists because they already had diplomas or certificates. Only freelance artists would need it, she said, and in any case, "managers should know how to select appropriate artists".

Hoang Tuan, a show organiser and representative of singers Dan Truong and Cam Ly, said that members of the Viet Nam Musicians' Association should be granted the cards automatically because their expertise and ethics were proven by membership in the association. He warned the ministry to think carefully before granting permits to singers and artists who had not received such professional training.

And a representative from Can Tho Province's Culture, Sports and Tourism Department pointed out that granting permits to hundreds of artists in 63 cities and provinces nationwide would cost the State a huge mount of money.

But the one concern not raised was censorship. As model Ngoc Tinh pointed out, when the content of every show has already been censored, individual artists don't have much agency anyway.

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