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North Korea

Population : 22,428,000 Internet users : unknown Privately-owned ISPs : no

The Internet officially does not exist in the world's most isolated country, but a handful of privileged people are allowed to go online through the phone system or via satellite. The regime also uses the Internet for its own foreign communications and in early 2002 even set up a website (Arirang) to attract tourists.

China hosts the official DPRKorea Infobank site (in Korean, English, Japanese and Chinese), that describes the delights of the North Korea. A dozen other official sites, including the government's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), are hosted in Japan or China. The KCNA site contains descriptions and articles about the "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-il and happy peasants and workers. There is no mention of the country's famine situation.

A North Korean scientific magazine, The World of Science, printed a diagram in 2000 showing a plan to instal filters between the Internet and the country's Intranet to control material passing between the two.

This ambiguous attitude to the Internet is denounced by human rights organisations using the Web to fight the repressive regime. One of the most active is the Citizens' Alliance for North Korean Human Rights, which is based in South Korea and heavily involved in helping those who manage to escape from the country via China or Russia. Its site contains many reports on the situation.

Links :

The Citizens' Alliance for North Korean Human Rights

A government site to promote tourism

The government news agency KCNA

Reporters Without Borders defends imprisoned journalists and press freedom throughout the world, as well as the right to inform the public and to be informed, in accordance with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Reporters Without Borders has nine national sections (in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom), representatives in Abidjan, Bangkok, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, Montreal, Moscow, Nairobi, New York, Tokyo and Washington and more than a hundred correspondents worldwide.

Obstacles to the free flow of information online
Choose a country:

18.06 - Vietnam
13 years in prison for physician who posted democracy article on website
6.06 - China
Independent news website blocked on Tiananmen massacre anniversary
4.06 - Pakistan
Access to South Asia Tribune website blocked
3.06 - China
Journalist Xu Wei goes on hunger strike to protest 10-year sentence
28.05 - Maldives
Editors of an electronic newsletter sentenced to life in prison
19.05 - China
Webmaster Huang Qi sentenced to five years in prison
15.04 - Kazakhstan
Access to Internet websites blocked
4.04 - China
Cyber-dissident Huang Qi "celebrates" 40th birthday in prison
5.03 - China
Concern grows about fate of two jailed cyber-dissidents
28.02 - China
Court verdict on cyber-dissident Huang Qi again postponed