[North Korea] has changed a lot. The level of consciousness has increased about everything from what we eat to what we think….Media from outside is definitely causing things to change.”
-26-year-old female from Pyongyang; left North Korea in January 2010
Global watchdog organizations such as Freedom House and Reporters Without Borders routinely rank the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) as the country with the least free media in the world. Indeed, for more than half a century, North Korea’s leaders have relied on a domestic media monopoly to control what information North Koreans can access and how narratives around that information are presented.
But the situation on the ground is changing, thanks in large part to North Koreans’ expanding access to unsanctioned foreign media and information sources. InterMedia’s A Quiet Opening: North Koreans in a Changing Media Environment  documents this evolution based on research among recent North Korean defectors, refugees and travelers abroad.
The project’s assessment of the current state of the media environment in North Korea suggests that substantial numbers of North Koreans are able to access various forms of foreign media. These include foreign TV and radio broadcasts, and particularly foreign DVDs brought into the country from China by cross-border traders and smugglers. Other vectors for information from abroad include smuggled mobile phones capable of receiving foreign signals, and the exchange of illicit foreign content on otherwise legal MP3/MP4 players and USB drives.
“[Accessing foreign media] didn’t change my life, but it changed how I analyzed my life.”
-39-year-old male from Hyesan City; left North Korea in April 2010
KEY FINDINGS FROM A QUIET OPENING
KEY REPORT SECTIONS
p. 8 General Media Environment in North Korea - Focus on TV, DVDs and Radio
p. 24 Impact of Media Exposure – The “So What” based on a model of the effects of outside media exposure
p. 38 Foreign Radio Effectiveness
p. 44 Elites and New information Technologies – Who are the Elites and their access to mobile phones, USB Drives and MP3 Players
Contacts for more information about A Quiet Opening: