In North Korea the media is broadcast, printed and distributed under strict surveillance and censorship – the only information you’re allowed to access has been pre-approved.
North Korean media does cover international news, but there is a very limited amount of coverage and only information which has been approved by the government is shown. The North Korean media is not interested in reporting on Tibet or the ‘umbrella revolution’ in Hong Kong – any region demanding more autonomy from China is off-limits. But it does report news stories about anti-government demonstrations in South Korea, or demonstrations against human rights violations by the US government.
When it comes to domestic news there is Rodong Sinmun, KCNA, and Chosun Central TV – all relatively well-known, even to the outside world, plus a variety of other news outlets. Newspapers are the mouthpiece of the Korean Workers’ Party.
They are only interested in publishing stories that emphasize the superiority of the regime which means crimes or accidents are never reported. You’ll never see a news article about corruption and you’ll certainly never read about social injustice. Investigative journalism doesn’t exist.
Rodong Sinmun, regarded as the most influential newspaper, is at the forefront of “the battle of ideologies and politics” led by the government. The main business of disseminating news has been taken up by KCNA. It has access to most domestic and international information and is fast in reporting breaking news such as the arrival of VIPs.
In North Korea, there are two TV stations: Central Chosun TV and Mansudae TV. Chosun Central TV broadcasts news, but also soap operas, comedy shows, cooking shows, fashion programmes (complete with tips for viewers) and the weather. Mansudae TVis the cultural station.
There are also two radio stations: KCNA and Radio Pyongyang. Few people own TVs so radio is the main source of information.
[Kim Yoo-sung, who left Hamgyeongbuk–do province in 2005]