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In Vietnam, confusion arises over rule banning beauties from taking nude photos

Sunday, April 17, 2016, 10:01 GMT+7

A recent regulation on banning beauty pageant queens and modeling contest winners from taking nude photos has caused confusion for industry insiders

The Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism issued a regulation on March 24 prohibiting contestants who have won titles in beauty and modeling contests from taking pictures or filming individual images without costumes, or with offensive costumes, and accidentally or deliberately releasing them to the public.

The regulation will take effect on May 15, 2016.

After news about the ban spread, some insiders have expressed their support for the regulation, claiming it is a necessity.

Xuan Lan, an experienced model, said the regulation could help to prevent people from posting skimpy images on the Internet in an effort to create scandals and get noticed.

The ban will also help eliminate those who use the model or beauty queen titles to take offensive and vulgar photos and excuse them as art, she added.

“Some want to capture their beautiful curves when they are young and only keep the photos for themselves and that’s their personal decision,” the model opined. “But celebrities, like beauty queens and famous models, have an influence on the community, so offensive photos of them, once spread, may cause a big impact.”

According to Lan, fashion shows must go through a rehearsal where performing costumes are appraised, so it is reasonable to censor nude photos.

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Model Xuan Lan

How offensive is offensive?

Conversely, the model also expressed her confusion over if there should be regulations on what kind of nude photos can be released.

According to Lan, there are many nude photo collections produced by professional teams which deliver messages of a fashionable, healthy lifestyle.

“How will such photos be appraised?” she wondered. “If the ban also applies to work done for good purposes and pure concepts, it is unfair for those who can benefit.”

Meanwhile, Minh Trieu, a bronze medal winner at the 2008 Vietnam Super Model contest, said that for many artists, particularly models, taking nude photos is part of their job.

Moreover, deciding whether or not a photo is offensive is subjective.

“Are there any measure to determinate offensiveness?” she added.

Trieu also said true artists would never want to release their sensitive images to the public so, with or without the ban, they have been very careful in managing their personal image.

Another issue, according to her, is that it is unreasonable that the regulation only targets those who have won beauty and modeling titles.

Sharing Xuan Lan’s opinion, Trieu said there are nude and naked photo collections done with the purpose of spreading meaningful messages.

“Are there any exceptions for photos of that kind?” Trieu asked, saying such photos are not about showing off bodies or beauty.

Lawyer Tran Ngoc Quy from the Ho Chi Minh City Bar Association also said the regulation aims to manage people in using nude images which offend the traditional custom of using scandals to achieve popularity.

However, there are instances of people using nudity to raise awareness for sensitive causes such as breast cancer and environmental protection, he added.

“The regulation is too general and is just sort of banning nude photography and films in any form, including art activities,” the lawyer said. “It influences artists’ aspirations and the rights to artistic creative activities.”

For that reason, Quy suggested the regulation should be adjusted to add more details and create a secure legal framework for artists so that the rule can both prevent scandals and allow them freedom of expression.

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