Alternative Radio Stations Opening Hearts and Minds in North Korea

One is Radio free Chosun. They have been broadcasting daily news, features and in-depth analyses to the North Korean public for almost 10 years.

INDONESIA

Senin, 15 Sep 2014 10:56 WIB

Author

Vitri Angreni

Alternative Radio Stations Opening Hearts and Minds in North Korea

North Korea, Radio, Shortwave, Seoul, Vitri Angreni

Media in North Korea is completely stated controlled.

But there are a number of alternative radio stations that broadcast via shortwave from South Korea into the North.

One is Radio free Chosun. They have been broadcasting daily news, features and in-depth analyses to the North Korean public for almost 10 years.

The President of the radio Lee Kwang-Baek recently visited Jakarta and is spoke with Vitri Angreni about their programs.


“We have three kind of programs. First is news. The news containing information on North Korea, South Korea and the world for one hour.  The second is Education, we try to teach the North Korea people about the idea of freedom, human rights and democracy. Also North Korean people can have access to foreign songs, movies, drama or soup opera as we produce a radio program about culture.”

Q. What is the respond from the North Korean people about your program?

“It’s almost impossible to see or hear the North Korea peoples direct reaction because the society completely closed. However we have heard from defectors who escape from North Korea that they listen to our radio station. Through such indirect information we can see that some North Korea people are listening to our program. We did a survey of 200 defectors and 5 of them were listeners of Radio Free Chosun.”

“Of course in North Korea listening to a foreign radio station is a crime. A political crime that is punishable. But the punishment has been lighten lately so it means the number of listeners will increase.”

Q. How are people punished for listening to your radio?


“The simple punishment is having your radio taken away. That’s the lightest one. But you could also be put in jail. And the harshest is execution. However executions have become very rare. What we have heard is that people can bribe their way out of being arrested. The police and the justice system is very corrupt. Corruption is quite overwhelming. As the punishment has been lightened our listeners have increased.”

Q. Do you think listener numbers have gone up just because there is a lighter punishment or because people are starting to become aware that something is happening in their country?

“It’s a really good point.  I think both things are happening at the same time.”

The President of Radio free Chosun Lee Kwang-Baek—they broadcast via shortwave from Seoul into North Korea.

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