What You Need to Know about North Korea’s Lack of Media Freeom

With Kim Jong-Un as the leader of North Korea since the end of 2011, media gatekeeping is at an all-time high. This idea of media gatekeeping is when the gatekeeper chooses what information they want their audience to know and what they should hide to influence anything from political views to social norms. A vast variety of things have been censored since Jong-Un came into power and I’m here to find the truth and to tell you what you NEED to know.

North Korea is known as a “one-party state” where there is no freedom or choice in politics, therefore, no freedom in the press either. The only party that actually exists in North Korea is that of protecting the “Kim family regime”. This regime idea has been going on for more than six decades even though it is the worst possible example of a “socialist-communist” country that our generation has, and probably will ever, see.

A score of 96 was presented to North Korea in Freedom House’s Annual Report on Press Freedom where 100 is the worst possible score. This shouldn’t come as a surprise seeing as how this power-hungry regime owns all major news outlets in the country which awards them the only hand to pick what the citizens get to know about. There will never be stories of economic problems or a lack of basic needs because that would make the Kim regime look bad.

The only way the North Korean citizens can get a television or radio is through the government. TVs are pre-programmed to government approved stations that show news programs and documentaries that only talk about how great the Kim regime is. Radios must be registered with police to ensure that they are staying tuned to only government-approved stations such as the one that is live from the north/south border.

In the United States, we can barely sit through a 75 minute college course without going on the internet. In North Korea, only the “elite” are allowed access to the internet and even then, only the ones who have been approved by the state can receive a given amount of content. Although the citizens are completely restricted in what they can do on the internet, the country of North Korea has its own Facebook, Twitter, and even YouTube accounts where they post only what they want the outside world to know.

With election season quickly approaching in the United States, it seems as though we can only think of ourselves, especially when our future seems to hang in the balance.The citizens of North Korea don’t have anything near the freedom that we do over here and I think that is something to keep in mind when we start losing ourselves in our ever-so-fortunate bubble. Although this media gatekeeping isn’t something that is close to home, it’s still something that we should keep in mind because no human should be told only the good things. Sometimes hearing the bad can make things better.

Chang, G. (2012). “How North Korea’s Kim Regime Survives.” Retrieved from http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/blog/gordon-g-chang/how-north-korea’s-kim-regime-survives

GateKeeping Theory. (n.d.). Communication Theory: All About Theories for Communication. Retrieved from http://communicationtheory.org/gatekeeping-theory/

North Korea Exposed: Censorship in the World’s Most Secretive State. (n.d.). Canadian Journalists for Free Expression. Retrieved from http://www.cjfe.org/north_korea_exposed_censorship_in_the_world_s_most_secretive_state

North Korea is Not a Socialist Society. (2013). Revolution Newspaper. Retrieved from http://revcom.us/a/301/north-korea-is-not-a-socialist-society-en.html

North Korea’s Tightly Controlled Media. (2011). BBC News. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-pacific-16255126


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