North Korea flooded headlines recently for banning foreign media and speaking styles, and imposed heavy fines and punishments for enjoying South-Korean shows and copying their styles. This came in as an anti-reactionary thought law, when the dictator Kim Jong Un called up a war on outside influences while asking for measures to improve homegrown entertainment. The increasing influence of Korean dramas can be seen all over the world, with people in awe over their beautiful characters, amazing storylines and intriguing plots. In India itself, people are going gaga over Korean dramas and almost everybody is talking about it.
New details about the law came that was passed last year came forward this week through North Korea’s inside based information provider website, Daily NK. Another news source based in Japan, Rimjin gang, also updated on the details of the law. The law came in to save cultural interference of other countries in the presidium of Supreme People’s Assembly by strengthening entry and control of outside material.
It was reported by the Seoul based website, Daily NK, that as per Article 27, the punishments for breaking the law by accessing or watching South Korean dramas by children reaches up to 15 years in prison by the parents. The punishments also extend for people producing or distributing pornography. Not just that, use of unregistered televisions, radios, computers, foreign cell phones or other domestic or foreign electronic device is also punishable under the law. The news source also provided explanatory material that it had obtained for citing the law. Rimjin Yang, in its report, suggested that the new laws ban speaking or writing in South Korean styles.
Article 32 of the law for band of outside media under reactionary thought calls upon disciplinary action of correction labor of up to 2 years or enforcement labor for speaking or writing in the South Korean style, singing South Korean music or printing stuff using fonts belonging to South Korean culture.
The explanatory material provided indicated that Kim Jong Un expressed how he disliked the fact that in South Korean style, non-relatives are also referred to with terms like “oppa” meaning older brother, or “dong-saeng” meaning younger brother or sister. However, the sources are independent and reutters were unable to verify the information. It was also declared that anybody caught importing banned materials from South Korea would have to serve a sentence of lifetime in prison. Not just that, anyone reporting bulk content materials from USA or Japan would serve a death sentence. The law bans against the entry of films, TV programs, music and any other cultural material from South Korea or any outside source for that matter.
This is not the first time the government has been in war with outside media, the new law just added some penalties and extended the horizon on the long running war on outside information. Special mention of South Korea repeatedly has been because of the influence of wealthier, democratic South emphasizing influence through intangible and material elements. As the country went into lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic and more people have been sitting in homes, the popularity of South Korean TV shows increased multifold. Soap operas like ‘Crash landing on you’ and ‘Backstreet rookie’ gained special place in people’s heart. Infact, reality shows like ‘Minister Trot’ also gained popularity in the country.
“It all plays into this very longstanding sensitivity to young people especially being led astray and detaching from the glorious socialist revolution by being distracted with this very fancy but corrupt influence,” said the member of Liberty in North Korea, Sokeel Park.
It was emphasized how limited yet accessible expanding information from outside media, including through border trades with China, has creeped in and made its influence in terms of style, portrayal and culture, in the country that only allows domestic media and entertainment sources that aim at building the prestige of dictator, Kim Jong Un. Tae-Yong Ho, the first North-Korean defector that was elected as South Korean lawmaker, also expressed how South Korean affluence and democratic influence would impact the country’s highest ordeal of maintaining prestige of dictator Kim Jong Un. “In daytime, the population is shouting ‘long live Kim Jong Un’, but at night they all watch South Korean dramas and movies,” said Tae Yong Ho. This was said as a means to explain how the dictator authorities want to keep in check people’s respect for the proclaimed social revolution of the country.
Kim Jong Un, in latest developments that came from the source of North Korea, apparently vowed to increase wireless network services in the country and improving the current broadcasting content shown. These wireless network services in question are supposed to be walled off from outside sources. With respect to this, Kim Jong Un expressed “It is needed to readjust the wire broadcasting and TV broadcasting systems, put the relevant technology on a higher level and provide full conditions for the people in all parts of the country from cities to remote mountain villages to enjoy better cultural and emotional life,”