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North Korea

Blog   |   North Korea

Signs of change in North Korea

CPJ may have raised some eyebrows with this year's list of the world's 10 most censored countries. North Korea was relegated to the number two slot, behind Eritrea. In our last ranking, in 2006, we ranked North Korea as the worst, and many other organizations continue to do that.

May 17, 2012 5:56 PM ET

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Blog   |   Belarus, Burma, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Internet, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Uzbekistan

Most censored nations each distort the Net in own way

Iran has invested in technology with the explicit intent of restricting
Internet access. (Reuters/Caren Firouz)

One big reason for the Internet's success is its role as a universal standard, interoperable across the world. The data packets that leave your computer in Botswana are the same as those which arrive in Barbados. The same is increasingly true of modern mobile networks. Standards are converging: You can use your phone, access an app, or send a text, wherever you are.

May 2, 2012 4:00 PM ET

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Blog   |   Bangladesh, Belarus, Burma, China, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, Nepal, North Korea

China not most censored, but may be most ambitious

Chinese official Jia Qinglin, fifth from left, hands over keys to the China-built African Union headquarters to AU Chairman and Equatorial Guinea President Theodoro Obiang. (AFP/Tony Karumba)

China didn't make the cut for our 10 most censored countries. While the Chinese Communist Party's censorship apparatus is notorious, journalists and Internet users work hard to overcome the restrictions. Nations like Eritrea and North Korea lack that dynamism.

Blog   |   North Korea

Rimjin-gang's latest reporting from North Korea

Here's a quick pointer to Rimjin-gang, my favorite website delivering current reporting from North Korea. Produced by Japan-based Asia Press Network, Rimjin-gang is also just about the only site producing news from one of the world's most censored nations.

June 22, 2011 5:22 PM ET

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Blog   |   North Korea

More rare news from North Korea

The latest batch of reporting--writing, photography, and video--from North Korea is available online at Asia Press Network (APN). The stories deal with apparent hyperinflation, the emergence of street markets in Pyongyang, and the reported reduction of rations for military personnel. They're the sort of stories you seldom see out of North Korea that give depth to the well-covered military and diplomatic maneuvers across the Korean Peninsula's Demilitarized Zone. 

February 15, 2011 11:09 AM ET

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Blog   |   Burma, China, Internet, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Russia, Sweden, Tunisia

Protecting yourself from denial-of-service attacks

It's my second link to a report by Hal Roberts (and others at the Berkman Center) in as many days, but I worry that this this detailed document on denial-of-service (DOS) and hacking attacks on independent media and human rights groups might get missed in the holiday season.

The news headlines in the last few weeks have been full of stories of how DOS attacks can bring down even high-profile websites, often with relatively little technical expertise on behalf of the attackers. Such attacks are nothing new to online journalists across the world, however. Just this year, CPJ has dealt with cases of independent news sites being taken offline by remote Internet attacks in China, Burma, Vietnam, Russia, Kazakhstan, and now Belarus.

The Berkman Center's report details over three hundred other cases from 1998 onwards, from Sweden to North Korea. More important, the researchers interviewed the victims of these attacks, and categorized what defenses were practical and effective -- and what did not work.

If you're an online journalist with powerful opponents, I'd strongly encourage you to read this document and pass it along to your tech-savvy associates. Even a small amount of preparation can help keep vital news and opinion available online when you -- and your readers -- most need it.

December 21, 2010 3:31 PM ET

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Blog   |   North Korea

News with a genuine North Korea dateline

A book named Rimjin-gang--News from Inside North Korea just became available. It's a compilation of years of reporting by a group of about 12 North Koreans using video and still cameras to record everyday life in North Korea. The title comes from the Rimjin River (Imjin in English), which forms part of the Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea. Japanese and Korean readers have been able to read the Rimjin-gang magazine since 2007.  

Ishimaru Jiro, Rimjingang's editor and publisher, is the driving force behind organizing a group of North Koreans, to whom he gave video and still cameras. He works with Asia Press, a cooperative started in Japan in 1987 to foster independent journalism in Asia.
November 15, 2010 2:40 PM ET

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Blog   |   Internet, North Korea, South Korea

Korea Times: Censorship on pro-NK websites tightens

The Korea Times documents the disturbing increase in censorship of writing about North Korea, with the police forcing website operators to remove 42,787 pro-North Korean comments. This may be due to an increase in North Korean government attempts to enter the online debate, but some point to the general anti-Net sentiment of the Lee administration.

Oh Chang-ik, director of the Citizens Solidarity for Human Rights, defined the sudden surge of censorship as "post trauma" of the Lee administration following nationwide candlelight vigils against U.S. beef imports in 2008.

This is one of the risks when "the Internet" is characterized as the medium of choice of one political group over another. Lee's predecessor, Roh Moo-hyun, was seen as the Net-enabled President; the Lee administration has been far more sceptical of online publications, and concerned about their affects on local and international politics. Such an increase in control can't be good for the freedom of the Korean press online.

September 11, 2010 4:40 AM ET

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Blog   |   North Korea, USA

Lee and Ling: 'Instinctively, we ran.'

Current TV journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee were arrested by North Korean police on March 17 for allegedly entering the country illegally and carrying out "hostile acts." In June, they were sentenced to 12 years' hard labor. Now back in the U.S. after receiving a pardon, the two are telling their story on Current.com, describing what happened that night on the border between China and North Korea:

September 2, 2009 12:08 PM ET

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Blog   |   Iran, North Korea

Joel Simon on The New York Times' "Room for Debate"

CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon is one of four diverse voices featured on The New York Times "Room for Debate" blog. The debate centers on the risk of venturing into dangerous territories, whether for recreation or journalism. You can read Simon's take on the Times' Web site.
August 7, 2009 11:51 AM ET

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