DUBLIN, April 26 - As refugees from North Korea and activists from Non-Governmental Organizations gather in Seoul, South Korea this week to highlight human rights violations in the hermit kingdom, there are signs that North Korean citizens are accessing more truth than was previously thought.
A recent survey by the Peterson Institute found that a startling 60 percent of North Koreans now have access to information outside of government propaganda. “North Koreans are increasingly finding out that their misery is a direct result of the Kim Jong-Il regime, not South Korea and America as we were brainwashed from birth to believe,” Kim Seung Min of Free North Korea Radio said in a press statement.
The radio station is a partner in the North Korea Freedom Coalition (NKFC), which is holding its annual North Korea Freedom Week in Seoul rather than Washington, D.C. for the first time in the seven-year history of the event.
“We set out to double the radio listenership of 8 or 9 percent, and we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of people who have access to information,” said NKFC Co-Chair Suzanne Scholte. She described the flow of information as “pinpricks in a dark veil over North Korea. Now those pinpricks are becoming huge holes.”
The radio station now air-drops radios into North Korea and broadcasts into the country for five hours a day, adding to information gleamed by refugees and merchants who cross the border regularly to buy Chinese goods.
“This is a spiritual conflict as well as a physical one - some people didn’t want us to call it freedom week,” she said. “But we’re making a statement … God gives us freedom by the very nature of being human and North Koreans are entitled to that too.”
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