BBC to enter North Korea, who are they competing with?


(Photo by Tim Carpenter/Flickr)

The BBC World Service is to broadcast news programs in North Korea as part of the biggest expansion of its journalism since 1940s.

The corporation has confirmed Korean as one of 11 new languages serviced that will be launched in 2017.

It is wildly believed that the BBC is trying to break the constriction on free speech and deliver independent news to North Korea.

North Korean people are blocked from all access to foreign news in the country. The government controls everything on TV, radio, newspaper and books.

But it doesn’t mean there is no space for foreign media in the country. There are still radio services like South Korea’s KBS, the Voice of America, Radio Free Asia and some private radio stations targeting it, but very few succeeded.

Basically people in North Korea can only receive information from state-run and local media. There are four national radio broadcast services and ten local radio stations aiming at propaganda to its people and South Korea. In terms of TV, there are three channels, the most authoritative Korean Central TV, Mansoodae TV and Kaesung TV which is targeting South Korea.

(Video by WrathofKhan/Youtube)

Some foreign news organizations also can assign their stuff to work in North Korea. China’s Xinhua News Agency, China Central Television and People’s Daily, Russia’s Tass, Japan’s Kyoto News are on the list. In 2010, the United States’ the Association Press became the first western media to set up office in the blocked country.

According to Xinhua News Agency’s former North Korea correspondent Zhang Li, each foreign news organization normally has one or two stuff in their North Korean office, and all of them need to work under supervision from the regime. If a journalist wants to cover an event or do an interview, they need to get permission from the authorities first. Thus it is almost impossible for them to cover stories independently and objectively.