USB-armed North Korean defectors subvert info firewall



More than 260 people have studied at a defector-led journalist academy since 2011, some going on to work for radio stations that broadcast into North Korea, or to write about the country for media in its archrival South Korea, The Wall Street Journal reports:

One of them, Daniel Jeong is also helping with a project to smuggle 6,000 USB drives loaded with news and other media into his former homeland. “People there need information,” he said.

As North Korea faces new international sanctions in response to its nuclear test and long-range rocket launch this year, its leadership is also grappling with the growing spread of potentially destabilizing information about life beyond its borders and its government…..“These days, it’s a surprise if new defectors say they haven’t seen South Korean videos or dramas,” said Sokeel Park, head of research and strategy at Liberty in North Korea, an organization that works with defectors.

The National Endowment for Democracy, a U.S. nonprofit founded in 1983 to foster global democratic transitions, also provides funding, the Journal adds. In 2015, it made around 20 grants to North Korea related projects worth around $2 million, including radio broadcasting and other journalism-related initiatives.


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