Home > Our Work > Information Dissemination > The Current Conditions of Media Dissemination in North Korea and Responses from the North Korean Government

NKSC carried out a seminar on May 20 from 10.00 to 12.00 pm titled “Current conditions of information inflow and the response of the North Korean government”. 

The seminar included speakers such as Kim Heun Gwang from North Korea intellectual Solidarity, Jang Se Yul from Kyuraewol Unification Group, and NKSC’s Research Director Kim Da-Ae in the panel. 

Kim Heun Gwang first presented by talking about “Practices and Strategies for Freedom of Information in North Korea”. Kim started by commenting how American President Obama in January 2015  had stated that North Korea is “the most isolated, the most sanctioned, the most cut-off nation on Earth”. However, “with the increase of access to the international and information inflow in the country, change will be possible”. Kim explained how free information has been disseminated in North Korea through radios, movies, and dramas. However, because of the entertainment purposes of movies, there are gaps in how much North Koreans can learn about the outside world. Most movies and dramas are focused on the plots and give little attention to what might interest North Koreans such as running how and cold water and knowing how certain machines work. Therefore, Kim suggested that new digital media such as e-books, digital magazines, and cartoons could be produced to directly provide what information of what interests North Koreans.

The second presenter Jang Se Yul from Kyuraewol Unification Group talked about ” Usage of Mobile Phone Content in North Korea”.  Jang mentioned new methods in assuring the safety of people watching foreign content. New forms of content would include former Soviet or Chinese movies that are less punishable in North Korea with Korean subtitles that talk about concepts of democracy and human rights. This type of method is being used by many North Koreans. Additionally, Jang mentioned how SD cards are popular devices used by university students, business man, and high level officials after Egyptian Telecom company Orascom started offering its services in the country for mobile usage, including smartphones. 2G SD cards are sold for 12,000KRW (North Korean), an equivalent of $0.14 and 4G SD cards are 20,000 KRW ($0.23). SD cards content can be copied inside mobile phones and shared with other people. 

Lastly, Kim Da Ae, presented an analysis of an official document of the North Korean police addressing the problems of foreign media dissemination in the country. Distributing and watching foreign media is to be criminalized equally to the trafficking of drugs and illegal business activities. The document states that it is paramount to “eradicate all criminals” not just to stop illegal business activity but to also ” stop anti-communist propaganda and protect the current socialist system”. 

The seminar was covered by the following media in Korean: 

– 뉴시스

– 뉴스토피아

NKSC will translate the articles and the seminars materials into English next month!

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Click here to read the seminar brief in Korean.