About 10 North Korea officials purged from Kim Jong-un’s Workers’ Party for watching South Korean soaps.
According to South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS), Pyongyang has purged about 10 officials from Kim Jong-un’s Workers’ Party for watching South Korean soaps.
All television and media is under strict state control and access to the internet is limited but despite a harsh crackdown, banned foreign shows and films have been gaining popularity in recent years.
A North Korean defector calling himself “Mr Chung” revealed North Korea’s preferences in a Channel 4 documentary last year. He smuggles radios, USB sticks and DVDs of soap operas and entertainment shows into the North, posing as a mushroom importer.
“The men prefer watching action films,” he said.
“Men love their action films! I sent them Skyfall recently. The women enjoy watching soap operas and dramas. The more people are exposed to such media the more likely they are to become disillusioned with the regime and start wanting to live differently.”
North Korea forbids its 24 million people from watching foreign broadcasts and videos out of fear outside influence could undermine the dictatorship’s ideology.
Anyone caught smuggling them in or distributing illicit material can be executed for crimes against the state and viewers have reportedly been sentenced to years in prison camps or hard labour.
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