by Leland Orfield
For the most part, global broadcasting has been a huge advance in allowing for freedom of speech in journalism, as reporters have been able to cover news on an international scale to an immense audience. Freedom of speech within journalism allows for a healthy amount of new perspective to circulate. This is due to how opinions and insights are typically allowed to be aired regardless of their social or political standpoint.
This liberty unfortunately isn’t universal, as some countries, particularly that of North Korea, heavily control the information in their media that is broadcast to its population. North Korea’s government is incredibly determined to withhold information pertaining to the actual state of affairs, both internally and externally, from the people within the country.
“The state of free expression in North Korea is nothing short of dismal,” says Nouran Sedaghat in his article, “North Korea exposed: Censorship in the world’s most secretive state” on the website of Canadian Journalists For Free Expression (CJFE). According to Sedaghat, the Freedom House’s annual Report on Press Freedom from 2013 gave North Korea a score of 96 out of 100, placing them at the bottom of the list of countries and labeling them as being tied for having the least freedom of press.
Comparably, the most recent Freedom House Report on Press Freedom from 2015, shows North Korea now having a 97 out of 100, establishing that they have the least freedom of press in the world.
Efforts by the government have gone so far as to set up and supply every television and radio that is owned by the public, and even checked by officials to keep all media monitored, according to an article from the BBC.
Even the availability of the internet is heavily restricted and monitored, as only a small portion of the elite have access. According to an article by Rick Gladstone from The New York Times, the limitation of nearly all internet access reflects the country’s need to keep unsavory facts out of public view.
In spite of these efforts, many North Koreans are trying to gain accessibility to the outside world by smuggling cellphones and televisions from South Korea and China. According to USA Today, smugglers have been able to bring in radio broadcasts in the Korean language that have been funded by the U.S. government.
Clearly, there is a movement to try amending the issues North Korea has with allowing freedom of press. However, the fact still remains that the government is doing all that it can to keep outside information from breaching its political walls.