The Nautilus Institute contends in a new report that North Korea is on the cusp of digital transformation thanks to the increasing importance of cell phones and computers in the country.
The report, which is available online (PDF), is a comprehensive and well-researched history and study of the emerging digital communications business in North Korea and was written by Alexandre Y. Mansourov, a senior associate at the organization. Mansourov specializes in Korean peninsula issues and once lived in Pyongyang studying for an Advanced Diploma in Korean studies at Kim Il Sung University.
It’s recommended reading for anyone interested in North Korean IT issues.
In the report Mansourov More >
North Korea’s international shortwave broadcaster, the Voice of Korea, will use the following schedule for English language broadcasts from October 31, 2011, until late March 2012.
The programs appear to be refreshed during the local Korean day with each programming cycle beginning with the 1000 GMT broadcast.
The news output, which has not been observed to change more than once a day, follows closely the English-language stories from KCNA with minor editing. It’s generally a day behind the news being put out on the domestic service in Korean.
Each program is about 55 minutes long.
The annual National Program Contest began on Thursday in Pyongyang, according to North Korean media reports.
The event, which typically takes place in late October each year, opened at the city’s Three Revolution Exhibition Hall with speeches led by Ro Tu Chol, vice-premier of the DPRK Cabinet.
The contest brings together scientists, programmers and students with more than 1,500 computer software programs, reported KCNA. The software is divided into sixteen categories including operating system and security, artificial intelligence and image processing.
North Korean has been pushing software development for the last decade and the event is one of the biggest exhibitions of developed programs.
A series More >
The two Japanese broadcasts that target North Korea, Shiokaze and Furusato no kaze, are updating their broadcast schedules to the winter (B11) period that runs from October 30, 2011 to March 25, 2012.
Shortwave radio remains a vitally important way to reach into North Korea because of the total lack of international communications offered to its citizens.
Shiokaze (しおかぜ) is run by a private organization, the “Investigation Commission on Missing Japanese probably related to North Korea” (COMJAN), and it broadcasts from
Authorities in South Korea are questioning around 40 people over Internet postings said to be in support of North Korea, according to several local news reports.
(Update: The Dong-a-Ilbo reports around 70 are under criminal probe on suspicion of circulating materials praising North Korea online in violation of the National Security Law.)
The material was posted on personal websites and the now defunct “Cyber Command for National Defense” website, according to Yonhap. The site, which was shutdown late last year, had about 6,500 members of whom about 600 were judged to be at its core, according to previous estimates.
Last week police confiscated the server on More >
South Korean prosecutors are launching a crackdown on websites and users judged to be posting “pro-North Korean” material, according to several local press reports.
The action comes as regulators judge the amount of such material available to South Korean citizens has ”mushroomed to a risky level,” according to prosecutors quoted by Yonhap News said.
North Korea’s state-run media outlets have spent the last year launching several propaganda-filled sites that report on aspects of life in the country and extol the benefits of the country’s political system and its leaders. The outlets have also expanded onto social media with Twitter, Facebook and YouTube channels.
The ease with More >
Reporters Without Borders has published a detailed report on the North Korean media landscape. The report is the result of of a fact-finding trip to Seoul in July by an RSF staffer and concludes that North Korea is no longer as sealed off from the outside world as it used to be.
Shortwave radio broadcasts from foreign stations, CDs and DVDs of South Korean TV broadcasts, data smuggled over the Chinese border and USB keys dropped by balloon are all creating cracks in the wall of isolation that has surrounded North Korea for decades, said the report.
It also called on the South Korean More >
North Korea’s state-run news agency has hit out against propaganda radio broadcasts targeted at the country.
(This post has been updated. See below)
In a commentary published on Wednesday, the Korean Central News Agency criticized the broadcasts for using “the same frequency band as used by the TV broadcasting in the DPRK and conducting its anti-DPRK radio propaganda with the same radio frequency band as used in the DPRK.”
North Korea is targeted by a handful of overseas radio stations that largely transmit on shortwave frequencies to reach listeners in the country. Some of the stations, including South Korea’s KBS and Seoul-based Open Radio for North Korea, More >