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A Quiet Opening - North Koreans in a Changing Media Environment
December 11, 2012 7:02 AM   Subscribe

As this research report will show, North Koreans today are learning more about the outside world than at any time since the founding of the country. North Korea is consistently ranked by Freedom House and Reporters Without Borders as the country with the least free media in the world. This ranking reflects the country's complete lack of an independent domestic media, its legal restrictions against accessing foreign media and the harsh punishments it metes out against citizens who violate those restrictions. Yet, since the late 1990s the information environment in North Korea has undergone significant changes. Although the media environment remains extremely restricted by international standards, North Koreans' access to outside media has grown considerably over the past two decades. Many inside the country continue to develop new ways to access information while avoiding the ever-present risk of detection and punishment.
posted by DiesIrae (13 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
PDF link.

Interesting, nice to her things are slowly changing for the North Koreans.
posted by JHarris at 7:10 AM on December 11, 2012


In a few years there are going to be some pissed off North Koreans when they figure out that they've been at the bottom of the scale, stuck in the 1950's and starving, while the rest of the world has moved on.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:20 AM on December 11, 2012


It's like a revverse Goodbye Lenin perpetrated on a mass scale!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:25 AM on December 11, 2012


How People Escape from North Korea
posted by 1970s Antihero at 7:45 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Related: North Korea: On the net in world's most secretive nation

My personal highlights:
There's a curious quirk on every official North Korean website. A piece of programming that must be included in each page's code.

Its function is straightforward but important. Whenever leader Kim Jong-un is mentioned, his name is automatically displayed ever so slightly bigger than the text around it.
and
Anyone logging on at the cafe would find themselves at a computer that isn't running Windows, but instead Red Star - North Korea's own custom-built operating system, reportedly commissioned by the late Kim Jong-il himself.

A pre-installed readme file explains how important it is that the operating system correlates with the country's values.

The computer's calendar does not read 2012, but 101 - the number of years since the birth of Kim Il-sung, the country's former leader whose political theories define policy decisions.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:48 AM on December 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


In a few years there are going to be some pissed off North Koreans when they figure out that they've been at the bottom of the scale, stuck in the 1950's and starving, while the rest of the world has moved on.

God, I hope so. I remember watching the Vice series on North Korea. Absolutely mesmerizing and horrifying to think that this is happening today on our planet. But what really stuck with me was the last part, with the karaoke.
posted by disconnect at 7:50 AM on December 11, 2012


Imagine seeing Gangnam Style for the first time...
posted by kmz at 8:11 AM on December 11, 2012


I wish.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:16 AM on December 11, 2012


Imagine seeing Gangnam Style for the first time...

How about the last?

Whenever leader Kim Jong-un is mentioned, his name is automatically displayed ever so slightly bigger than the text around it.

Ooooh don't give me ideas.
posted by JHarris at 8:39 AM on December 11, 2012


North Korean prisoner escaped after 23 brutal years: Born in a prison camp, Shin Dong-hyuk describes how three generations of a family are incarcerated if one family member is considered disloyal.
posted by homunculus at 4:09 PM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I read the Orphan Master's Son earlier this year and have been more interested in this subject ever since.
This is a fascinating article, thanks for the post.
I am surprised and a bit encouraged that the NK people seem to be less interested in narcing out their countrymen these days.
Also this which may have been linked on the blue before.
posted by OHenryPacey at 4:28 PM on December 11, 2012


I'm looking forward to delving into all these links--thank you.

Whenever North Korea comes up, I have to recommend Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick (which I actually found out about on Metafilter). It's one of the best non-fiction books I've read--oral histories of ordinary life in North Korea, told by people who managed to escape.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 4:50 PM on December 11, 2012


One Small Step for Kim: North Korea Inches Closer to an ICBM

North Korea’s Satellite Is Out of Control: Why This Is Very Bad News
posted by homunculus at 2:53 PM on December 12, 2012


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