BBC Plans North Korea Broadcasting Service

SEOUL, March 12 (UPI) — Britain’s BBC is planning to broadcast to North Korea, but the move could draw a strong reaction from Pyongyang, The Telegraph reported Wednesday.

The plan is in its early stages. BBC World Service is looking into the creation of a special news channel that could circumvent the North Korean ban against foreign media broadcasts.

But the decision could also backfire for the British mission in Pyongyang, one of the few European embassies in the isolated country.

A BBC spokesman told The Telegraph the channel will be broadcast through shortwave radio, given the lack of access to the Internet or satellite TV for ordinary North Koreans who live outside Pyongyang.

North Korean authorities have been known to confiscate hand-held radios and jam foreign radio signals, but the devices can be found in North Korea’s burgeoning black markets, defectors say.

The BBC decision to transmit broadcasts drew mixed reactions from South Korea lawmakers, The Korea Herald reported Thursday.

Members of South Korea’s governing Saenuri Party said the plan was welcomed as a means to provide information to North Koreans about the outside world and said the BBC should be allowed to broadcast from South Korea.

Others were skeptical about the BBC’s ability to reach North Koreans.

If BBC’s plans go ahead as planned, the British public broadcasting service will be joining the Voice of America, Radio Free Asia and South Korean public broadcaster KBS in its effort to reach ordinary North Koreans through radio.


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