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Listening Post

Another side of North Korea

We look at issues around the news and information that defectors are smuggling out of Pyongyang.

Last Modified: 28 Jul 2013 07:21
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For 63 years, the governments of North and South Korea have been in a political stare-down, across a heavily guarded border and a demilitarised zone.

And the two media scenes could not be more different.

North Korea's media are among the world's most censored, with just one television network, a state-run mouthpiece pumping out the government line. In South Korea journalists have to watch what they say about their neighbour - a vague, antiquated law prohibits the publishing of anything sympathetic to North Korea.

Operating under the radar is a growing network of North Korean citizen reporters who work with media outlets based in Seoul, funded by the US, and staffed with defectors from the north.

Equipped with not much more than mobile phones, those sources smuggle information out of North Korea that gets picked up by the mainstream media. They take risks, with the apparent aim of showing the real North Korea to the rest of the world.

But how does one assess the credibility of invisible sources? How can one begin to verify what they are reporting?

The Listening Post’s Gouri Sharma looks at an underground network that is gathering news in North Korea.

"People perceive North Korea to be a negative and surreal country. In particular the US perceives North Korea to be very strange. However, we at Daily NK have managed to show how 'real' North Koreans live, their ideologies, their dissatisfaction of the North Korean state."

Shin Joo-hyun, the chief editor at the Daily NK

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