Posts tagged Daily NK
Four of South Korea’s leading defector-run media outlets have begun jointly lobbying the government on issues of mutual interest and their first target appears to be a mediumwave (AM) radio frequency.
Radio Free Chosun, Open Radio for North Korea, Daily NK and OTV have come together under the “Unification Media Group,” Daily NK reported.
The four have a joint goal of reaching a million North Korean adults within the next five years. Under current conditions, that’s all but impossible via TV or the Internet but could be done by radio.
Radio Free Chosun and Open Radio for North Korea have attempted to reach North Koreans before using shortwave but those broadcasts can’t always be received clearly.
Differing atmospheric conditions can affect reception on a daily or seasonal basis, frequencies generally change once or twice a year and North Korean authorities often aggressively jam the programs by broadcasting noise over the top of them.
Switching to a mediumwave frequency would be much more successful, the four media outlets assert.
But success is far from clear.
Reception of mediumwave signals is much more reliable than shortwave and, given enough power, a mediumwave transmitter in South Korea could easily cover the entire Korean peninsula at night.
South Korea’s KBS takes advantage of this with its Social Radio broadcasts, which easily cover most of East Asia overnight on 972kHz, and the signals of both Pyongyang Broadcasting Station and the Korean Central Broadcasting Service can also be heard across a wide region.
In Tokyo, for example, it’s easy to listen to domestic South and North Korean transmissions during the evening.
South Korea has reacted to the ease with which North Korean stations can be heard by jamming them. Loud noise covers the broadcast making it difficult or impossible to hear.
Here’s what Pyongyang Broadcasting Station sounds like on 855kHz in Paju, just south of the inter-Korean border.
On shortwave, broadcasts would simply change frequency — something that evades the jamming for a few days but also means listeners have to hunt down the station. Mediumwave transmissions are much more regulated and frequencies rarely change, so while the position on the dial would be consistent, the broadcasts would be highly likely to attract jamming.
Getting a mediumwave frequency might not be simple. Japan, the Koreas and China are highly regulated broadcasting markets where there are many hurdles to getting on air. Any frequency would also have to be coordinated with neighboring countries so, for example, a new transmitter in Seoul doesn’t inadvertently cause interference to a local Japanese radio station at nighttime.
A preliminary gauge of how successful this plan might be could come from North Korean mediumwave. If the government considers such a transmitter might be effective in reaching a large number of the North Korean people, we can expect denouncements and threats on KCNA.
Several South Korean websites that specialize in reporting on North Korean issues were hit by cyber attackers on Tuesday, they said late the same day.
Daily NK and Free North Korea Radio both confirmed the attacks in articles posted on their sites. They were said to begin at 2pm local time (0500 UTC) and resulted in the sites being unavailable for some time.
“The attack was aimed at databases and was designed to blow away the entire system. Based on this, we can say that their target was clearly pre-ordained and the aim was to completely incapacitate it,” the Daily NK said in an article on its site.
Access to both sites has since been restored.
The Daily NK also reported that the websites of NKnet and NK Intellectuals Solidarity were also attacked. The former is currently online but the latter cannot be accessed.
The attacks came on the third anniversary of the sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan. The ship broke in two and sank near the maritime border with North Korea causing the deaths of 40 sailors and leaving six missing and presumed dead. North Korea denied involvement but an international investigation said the Cheonan sank after being hit with a torpedo fired from the North Korean submarine.
They are the latest in a recent series of cyber attacks and incidents in the two countries.
North Korea’s Internet connection was severely disrupted for almost two days from March 13 to March 15. The country’s state-run news agency, KCNA, accused the U.S. and its allies of launching an attack, but little evidence was provided or has been found to determine exactly what happened.
Then last week an estimated 26,000 PCs at three major South Korean TV broadcasters and three banks were hit by malicious software that wiped their hard disk drives. South Korean investigators are still looking into the attacks and have yet to determine their source.
Bloomberg Businessweek has a story on the Chinese cell phones in use in North Korea along the border region. It estimates around 1,000 people use such phones to keep in touch with relatives and associates in China, South Korea and elsewhere. Because the cell phones connect to Chinese cell phone towers it’s difficult for the North Korean government to eavesdrop on the calls, but it does mean use is restricted to the border area.
The piece interviews Open Radio for North Korea, the Seoul-based shortwave broadcaster, and the Daily NK Web site on how they gather information from inside North Korea via these Chinese cell phones.
Full story: North Korea Open Radio Prompts Wonder About Riches Over Border, Bloomberg Businessweek