North Korea profile

North Koreans read newspaper in metro station Flattering reports about the leader are a staple of the press

Radio and TV sets in North Korea are pre-tuned to government stations that pump out a steady stream of propaganda.

The press and broadcasters - all of them under direct state control - serve up a menu of flattering reports about North Korea's leader. Economic hardship and famines are not reported. North Korea is one of the hardest countries for foreign media to cover.

Ordinary North Koreans caught listening to foreign broadcasts risk harsh punishments, such as forced labour. The authorities attempt to jam foreign-based and dissident radio stations.

A glimmer of hope, says watchdog Reporters Without Borders, is the "communications black market" on the North Korean-Chinese border where recordings of South Korean TV soaps and films are said to circulate.

Start Quote

The totalitarian regime in North Korea keeps its people in a state of ignorance through tight control of the media ”

End Quote Reporters Without Borders

North Korea has a minimal internet presence. News agency KCNA and the party newspaper Rodong Sinmun are among a handful of official sites. Their output is aimed largely at audiences outside North Korea.

Uriminzikkiri, a site hosted in China, carries news from official North Korean sources. It operates accounts on Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

Online access within North Korea is exceedingly rare and limited to sites that comprise the domestic intranet, says OpenNet Initiative. Content is chosen, and user activity monitored, by the authorities.

North Korea is one of RSF's "Enemies of the Internet". North Korean journalists are active on blog sites hosted in Japan and South Korea, the organisation says.

A South Korean newspaper has said the North is believed to employ up to 1,000 hackers targeting other nations.

There is a 3G mobile phone service - a joint venture with an Egyptian firm. Take-up has proved popular among wealthier citizens in Pyongyang.

In 2013, officials loosened some curbs by allowing visitors to bring their mobile phones into North Korea. But mobile phone calls between foreigners and locals are prohibited.

The press

Rodong Sinmun (Labour Daily) - organ of Korean Workers' Party; web pages in English

Joson Inmingun (Korean People's Army Daily)

Minju Choson (Democratic Korea) - government organ

Rodongja Sinmum (Workers' Newspaper) - organ of trade union federation

Television and radio

Korean Central Broadcasting Station - radio station of Korean Workers' Party

Korean Central TV - TV station of Korean Workers' Party

Mansudae TV - cultural station

Voice of Korea - state-run external service, via shortwave radio; web pages in several languages

News agency/internet

Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) - state-run; web pages in several languages

Uriminzokkiri (On Our Own) - website carrying official news; pages in several languages

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