SEOUL (SOUTH KOREA) – North Korea had imposed a sweeping new ‘anti-reactionary thought’ law last year, details of which have emerged now. According to this law anyone caught enjoying South Korean entertainment or copying the way South Koreans speak is at the risk of facing stiff fines or prison time.
Measures include fines for parents whose children violate the bans, up to 15 years in a prison camp for those caught with media from South Korea, and punishments for the production or distribution of pornography, the use of unregistered televisions, radios, computers, foreign cellphones or other electronic devices.
While North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called for better homegrown entertainment, the leader has also criticised the common practice in the South of using terms such as “oppa” (older brother) and “dong-saeng” (younger sister, brother) to refer to non-relatives, the site reported.
Anyone caught importing banned material from South Korea faces a life sentence, while those caught importing large amounts of content from the United States or Japan could face death.
The emphasis on South Korean material and the intangible elements like accents highlights how worried the government is about the influence of the wealthier democratic South, said Sokeel Park, of Liberty in North Korea, which supports defectors.
The limited yet expanding access to information, including via border trade with China, has hastened subtle change in a country that only allows state media focused on building the prestige of leader Kim, said Tae Yong-ho, the first North Korean defector to be elected as a South Korean lawmaker.
“In daytime, the population is shouting ‘long live Kim Jong Un’, but at night they all watch South Korean dramas and movies,” Tae said in an interview.
Kim has also vowed at a recent congress of the ruling party to expand wireless networks and to upgrade broadcasting to better serve viewers.
“It is needed to readjust the wire broadcasting and TV broadcasting systems, put the relevant technology on a higher level and provide full conditions for the people in all parts of the country from cities to remote mountain villages to enjoy better cultural and emotional life,” Kim said in remarks to the gathering.