By James Pearson
SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea has warned foreigners living in Pyongyang not to share outside media on memory sticks with its citizens, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a note, cracking down on what the isolated country called “undesirable content”.
The vast majority of North Koreans have no access to outside Internet or foreign media, but people regularly share films, music and literature on easily-concealed USB sticks that are passed from person to person.
North Korea is the second most-censored nation on earth, according to a new ranking by the Committee to Protect Journalists.
For anyone that knows North Korea or has been paying attention to press freedom studies and rankings, the news hardly comes as a surprise.
The government has complete control over the news media, which is limited to a handful of outlets that all report and reflect the official viewpoint. More >
North Korea has begun blocking access to Twitter and Facebook on domestic Internet connections offered to foreigners, according to a report last week.
If correct, the move is apparently the first active blocking of Internet access by the North Korean government and comes at a time when it appears to be slowly tightening the screws on outflow of information via foreigners and tourists.
North Korea has banned the use of satellite Internet connections and WiFi networks by foreign embassies and international organizations unless they get government approval.
The switch, which came in mid August, gives credibility to an earlier report that unencrypted wireless networks at embassies were being used by North Korean citizens to gain uncensored access to the Internet.
Foreign missions and aid agencies were notified of the change in policy on August 20 in a communique from the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the full text of which was published on Monday by NK News. More >