North Korea has had it’s share of coverage on Weird Asia News for being so… well… weird. We have reported on North Korea publicly executing people for using cell phones, eating dog meat to help deal with summer heat, and how their own leader is a better golfer than Tiger Woods.
North Korea has always been somewhat a place of mystery, due to strict rules against media and journalist entering, or reporting, about anything within their country. Even when foreigners are allowed to enter the country, they must be escorted by secret police and government officials at all times.
Even North Koreans themselves are extremely controlled. There is a cable radio system that is wired into almost all establishments and provides the news and commentary to most North Koreans. There is a limited number of radio stations or television stations, all of which are controlled by the government. So much is the control on media that most North Koreans do not even have cameras or internet access at all.
So when the opportunity came up for a small group of reporters to be allowed entrance into the country to cover the Arirang Mass Games in Pyongyang, VBS decided to step up and take the risk to hopefully bring back some insights on the infamous communist country of North Korea.
“Getting into North Korea was one of the hardest and weirdest processes…” “They finally said they were going to allow 16 journalists into the country. Then, ten days before we were supposed to go, they said, â€œNo, nobody can come.â€ Then they said, â€œOK, OK, you can come. But only as tourists.â€ They already knew we were journalists, and over there if you get caught being a journalist when you’re supposed to be a tourist you go to jail. We don’t like jail. And we’re willing to bet we’d hate jail in North Korea.”
VBS finally got the “go ahead” to visit North Korea and brought back a series of 14 videos on North Korea, which they are releasing on their website – The VICE Guide to North Korea. So risky was their endeavor that they were almost charged with a criminal offense for recording when they were not supposed to.
Here are a few of our favorites and make sure to head over and catch the whole series. You will not be disappointed: