Although Article 53 of the constitution states that North
Korean citizens have freedom of speech, press, assembly,
association, and demonstration, such activities are permitted
only in support of government and KWP objectives. Other articles
of the constitution require citizens to follow the socialist
norms of life; for example, a collective spirit takes precedence
over individual political or civil liberties.
Domestic media censorship is strictly enforced, and deviation
from the official government line is not tolerated. The regime
prohibits listening to foreign media broadcasts, and violators
are reportedly subject to severe punishment. Senior party cadres,
however, have good access to the foreign media. No external media
are allowed free access to North Korea, but an agreement to share
in Japan's telecommunications satellites was reached in September
Newspapers, broadcasting, and other mass media are major
vehicles for information dissemination and political propaganda.
Although most urban households have radios and some have
television sets, neither radios nor televisions can be tuned to
anything other than official programming. Only some 10 percent of
the radios and 30 percent of the televisions are in private
(see Transportation and Communications
, ch. 3).
Government control extends to artistic and academic circles, and
visitors report that the primary function of plays, movies,
books, and the performing arts is to contribute to the cult of
personality surrounding Kim Il Sung.
The media is government controlled. As of mid-1993, there
were eleven television stations, approximately two dozen AM
stations, ten FM stations, eight domestic shortwave stations, and
a powerful international shortwave station. The latter broadcast
in English, French, Spanish, German, and several Asian languages.
Korean Central Broadcasting Station and P'yongyang Broadcasting
Station (Radio P'yongyang) are the central radio stations; there
are also several local stations and stations for overseas
A number of newspapers are published. Nodong simmun
(Workers' Daily), the organ of the party Central Committee,
claimed a circulation of approximately 1.5 million as of 1988.
K lloja (The Worker), the theoretical organ of the party
Central Committee, claimed a circulation of about 300,000
readers. Minju Chosn (Democratic Korea) is the government
newspaper, and Nodong chngnyn (Working Youth) is the
newspaper of the SWYL. There also are specialized newspapers for
teachers, the army, and railway workers.
The Korean Central News Agency (Chosn Chungyang Tngsinsa--
KCNA) is the primary agency for gathering and disseminating news.
KCNA publishes the daily paper Korean Central News (Chosn
Chungyang T'ongsin), Photographic News (Sajin T'ongsin),
and the Korean Central Yearbook (Chosn Chungyang Ynbo).
KCNA issues daily press releases in English, Russian, French, and
Spanish; newscasts in these languages are beamed overseas. The
Foreign Languages Press Group issues the monthly magazine
Korea Today and the weekly newspaper the P'yongyang
Times published in English, Spanish, and French.
Data as of June 1993