EU backs radio broadcasts into DPRK, RoK backs VOA

Several foreign organizations are broadcasting radio content into North Korea: Free North Korea Radio, Open Radio for North Korea, Radio Free Chosun, Voice of America and  Radio Free Asia.   

According to Yonhap, the EU government and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) are throwing financial support behind FNKR, ORNK, and RFC:

The European Union (EU) and an international group of journalists forged a deal on Tuesday to provide 400 million won (US$290,000) to help anti-Pyongyang radio broadcasting stations run mostly by defectors from North Korea.

The EU and the Reporters sans Frontiers (RSF) signed the deal with three stations — Free North Korea Radio, Open Radio for Korea and Radio Free Chosun — in Seoul to fund their programs for the next three years.

The stations have been producing and sending shortwave anti-communism and human rights radio broadcasts across the border. In the past, North Korea has asked South Korea to suspend the stations, calling them an obstacle to unification.

In a related Associated Press story, the South Korean government is allowing Voice of America access to South Korean transmission equipment for the first time since the 1970s:

That makes the signal much clearer than VOA’s long-running shortwave broadcasts from far-flung stations in the Philippines, Thailand and the South Pacific island of Saipan. Moreover, it’s an AM signal, so listening in doesn’t require a shortwave radio.

“Radio can play a big role in changing people,” said Kim Dae-sung, who fled the North in 2000 and is now a reporter at Free North Korea Radio, a shortwave radio broadcaster in Seoul. “Even if it’s simply news, it’s something that North Koreans have never heard of.”

Still, the move could be seen as yet more provocative policymaking by a government already at loggerheads with the North over Lee’s tough policy on Pyongyang, and comes at a time of heightened regional tensions over North Korea’s plans to launch a rocket early next month. Nuclear envoys from South Korea and Japan flew to Washington for talks Friday with top U.S. diplomats about North Korea.

Since Jan. 1, VOA has been using the antenna facilities of the Far East Broadcasting Company-Korea, a Christian evangelical radio station, for half of its three-hour nighttime broadcast into the North. The antenna is only 40 miles (65 kilometers) from the border.

South Korea prohibited VOA from broadcasting from its soil for carrying a 1973 report on the kidnapping of Kim Dae-jung, then a leading South Korean dissident. The authoritarian Seoul government at the time is widely believed to have been behind the abduction.

North Korea condemns such broadcasts as “U.S. psychological warfare” and often jams the signals. So far, it has not interfered with VOA’s new AM broadcast, said radio expert Park. Doing so requires more equipment than blocking shortwave signals, and the fact that North Korea isn’t doing so may indicate the North is struggling economically, he said.

Read the full stories here:
EU, reporters promise 400 million won to promote radio broadcasts into North

VOA wins powerful base for broadcasts into NKorea
Associated Press (via Herald Tribune)


2 Responses to “EU backs radio broadcasts into DPRK, RoK backs VOA”

  1. Martyn says:

    I’ll listen out for this.

    For anyone interested, FEBC has a 100kW transmitter in Seoul on 1188kHz. It looks like this is the one referred to in the article.

    They also have a more powerful 250kW transmitter on Cheju island on 1566kHz that is used to broadcast the Japanese service. In the evenings in Tokyo is can be quite clearly heard.