Journalism and Society: Reporting From Inside North Korea
Via The Economist
THE only publication written by North Koreans, about North Korea, for consumption by the outside world, is named after a river that flows from the North to South Korea and into the Yellow Sea. Rimjingang’s eight reporters are dotted about the totalitarian state; their backgrounds range from factory work to the civil service. In China they were trained in undercover recording techniques. And then they went home to begin their work. If caught, they surely face death.
Their reports are smuggled back into China, and then to Japan, where the magazine’s publisher, Asiapress, is based. Rimjingang produced a shocking video [above] late last year of a homeless young woman, her face blackened with dirt, foraging on a mountainside. Images of the woman, who may have died soon after, went around the world.
While knowledge may be a handy tool in fomenting civil unrest among a downtrodden populace, it is soft power that wins every time.
Perhaps the greatest force for change remains pirated DVDs from China. Though not a part of any deliberate effort to subvert the system, they mean that nearly everyone has seen South Korean soap operas and knows how prosperous Seoul really looks. “Fear still rules,” says a defector. “But people know more about the world than you might think.”