10 Most Censored Countries – Committee to Protect Journalists

2. North Korea

Leadership: Kim Jong Un, who took over after his father, Kim Jong Il, died in 2011.

How censorship works: Article 67 of the country’s constitution calls for freedom of the press, but nearly all the content of North Korea’s newspapers, periodicals, and broadcasters comes from the official Korean Central News Agency[18] (KCNA), which focuses on the political leadership’s statements and activities. KCNA, which is highly restrictive in its coverage of foreign news, reported extensively on the brief visit by U.S. President Donald Trump to North Korea in June 2019, and praised it as an “amazing event,” the BBC reported[19]. The Associated Press[20] and Agence France-Presse[21] have small bureaus, but international correspondents have been denied[22] entry, detained, and expelled[23]. Access to the global internet is restricted to the political elite, but some schools and state institutions have access to a tightly controlled intranet[24] called Kwangmyong. Bootlegged foreign TV and radio signals[25] and smuggled foreign DVDs are the main sources of independent information for the majority of North Koreans, according to a report by InterMedia. Since Kim Jong Un took power, authorities have stepped up the use of radio signal blockers and advanced radio detection equipment to prevent[26] people from sharing information, according to The Diplomat. As of March 2019, at least four million North Koreans subscribe to Koryolink, North Korea’s main mobile network, according to South Korean daily The Hankyoreh[27], which cited Statistics Korea; however, subscribers are not able to access content outside North Korea.

Lowlight: In September 2017, a North Korean court sentenced[28] two South Korean journalists and their publishers to death in absentia for “insulting the dignity of the country.” Son Hyo-rim of Dong-A Ilbo and Yang Ji-ho of The Chosun Ilbo interviewed the authors of “North Korea Confidential,” a 2015 book detailing ordinary lives in North Korea, and reviewed the book for their newspapers.North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a visit in Beijing, China, in a photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency on January 10, 2019. North Korea continues to be one of the most repressive countries in the world for journalists. (KCNA via Reuters)

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