Millions of North Koreans listen to dozens of foreign radio broadcasts transmitted by the United States, Japan and South Korea and the number is growing. This is according to Peter Beck an Atlantic Council Non-resident Senior Fellow who said that this is quite a phenomenon given that Pyongyang authorities distribute only radios with fixed dials that block foreign broadcasts and imprison citizens caught listening to foreign radio for as long as 10 years.
Mr Beck who is also a Pantech Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Asia Pacific Research Center said that two of the most popular stations are the Voice of America and Radio Free Asia. Mr Beck added that the North Korean regime is losing its monopoly on the control of information and outside broadcasts are undermining loyalty.
Andy Sennitt comments: There is no doubt that the number of North Koreans who have access to information from abroad is growing, but I would question whether there are “millions” of North Koreans actually listening to foreign radio broadcasts. What happens is that those who manage to listen spread the information further by word of mouth. I would be interested to know whether Mr Beck has any evidence to back up his claim of mass listenership, or whether it is just wishful thinking.