The Internet unshackled … for now

[Updated: North Korea opens up Internet for national anniversary, Computerworld]

There are amazing reports coming out of Pyongyang tonight on Twitter! That’s right, tweets from the heart of one of the most insular countries in the world.

Foreign correspondents have been sending out tweets thanks to a press room set up at the Koryo Hotel. They’re in town to cover the 65th anniversary celebrations for the Worker’s Party of Korea. Their admittance to the country is unusual in itself, but a press room with apparently unrestricted Internet is extraordinary.

One of the most active on Twitter has been Melissa Chan of Al Jazeera.

Here are some of her tweets:

  • Off to Pyongyang. No Twitter, no web access, no cell phone. Be back in a few. [link]
  • is in Pyongyang — and the authorities have set up web access for journalists here! [link]
  • the North Korean IT guys at the press room really know their stuff — we’re logged on! [link]
  • Just Skyped live on air — usually I would complain about Skype live crosses — but not out of Pyongyang! [link]
  • Internet went down for about 45 minutes here in Pyongyang. [link]
  • “If you don’t have access to the Internet, how will you file your stories?” one of our North Korean minders asked. [link]
  • They have complete control to unplug us at any time. [link]

She also asked, “Is this the first time foreign journalists have tweeted from Pyongyang?,” and I think it is.

Of course, it’s too early to tell if this means anything long-term for the Internet in North Korea. It could just be part of a charm offensive designed to stop correspondents filing stories about how cut off North Korea is from the rest of the world. Only time will tell.

2 Comments on "The Internet unshackled … for now"

  1. Last time I used the internet in Koryo Hotel it went like this.

    You wrote your email out in Word
    Gave them the email address.

    They logged on via dialup to Hotmail, pasted the email.

    Clicked Send

    Logged off

    Charged you 10$

    My, how times have changed!

  2. Thank You to Respected Kim Jong-il for Allowing North Korea into the Family of Nations and Your Peoples Lives are getting Better and Better All The Time… There is something about Asians that is Peaceful… and You have that Something…
    Sincerely Greg George

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