The live stream of North Korea’s KCTV, reported here last week, is currently down. Seoul-based Unification Broadcasting apparently took it offline after a flood of traffic prompted by a South Korean media report on the service. That report was triggered by the posting here.
The stream has apparently been available for sometime but the address only recently started appearing on some Internet forums and message boards related to international TV. Last week’s report on North Korea Tech appears to have brought the service to the attention of the media in Seoul and triggered at least two news reports.
First off the mark was AFP, which interviewed the site’s founder. AFP reports Unification Broadcasting is run by Lim Young-Sun, a former North Korean solider that defected to the south 20 years ago. Lim’s motivation for the service is to show South Koreans the real face of the North Korean propaganda machine, said AFP.
“At first, the government was worried that some South Korean supporters of the Kim Jong-Il regime would abuse my service,” Mr. Lim recalled.
“But ironically, many of them become anti-Kim after watching,” he noted. “They said the scenes of North Korean residents so frantically worshipping Kim seemed ridiculous, to the point it became impossible to agree with the ideology.” – Web site offers rare glimpse of North Korean TV, AFP, December 9, 2011
AFP said the site gets around 15,000 hits a day and sometimes finds its server jammed.
That’s exactly what appears to have happened earlier this week when the Dong-a-Ilbo also followed up on the service. The newspaper said the country’s National Intelligence Service has looked at the site and service but hasn’t yet deemed it “pro-North Korean” — something that could put Lim in violation of the security law.
It also reported:
A South Korean government official said, “South Koreans can freely watch North Korean broadcast programs, but retransmitting them could potentially constitute violation of the National Security Law.” – Website in S. Korea airing NK TV in real time, Dong-a-Ilbo, December 11, 2011
While South Koreans might be able to legally watch North Korean TV the government doesn’t make it easy. TV and radio signals from the north are jammed in Seoul to prevent people tuning in. However, a little bit of effort with a shortwave radio or satellite dish makes a quick route around the jamming.
After the Dong-a-Ilbo report the site reportedly experienced a crush of traffic causing the live stream to be taken down. (Thanks to Bobby in the comments for that tip.)