Associated Press Independence in Doubt after ‘Deal’ with North Korean Regime (The Daily North Korea, South Korea)
Has the North Korean regime ‘played’ one of the Western World’s leading news agencies? Cho Jong-ik of South Korea’s Daily North Korea reports on concerns about the announcement that North Korea has given the Associated Press permission to become the first Western outlet ever permitted to open an office in Pyongyang.
For the Daily North Korea, reporter Cho Jong-ik writes in part:
North Korea’s decision to allow the Associated Press to set up a bureau in Pyongyang is attracting attention. Although Chinese agencies Xinhua and the People’s Daily as well as Russian media giant ITAR-TASS already have offices in Pyongyang, the AP is the first Western media outlet ever allowed to establish an office inside the country.
Holding a ceremony on January 16th with Korean Central News Agency President Kim Byung-ho to commemorate the opening, AP President Tom Curley promised to issue reports on North Korea based on fairness, balance and accuracy. Curley said, “We will do our best to accurately reflect the people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as well as what they do and say.”
Choi Jin-wook, senior researcher at the Korean Institute of National Unification, offered the Daily NK his view, saying, “Their intention is to aggressively promote an image of peace by accepting media from the Western world.” Choi added that, “there is an element of desperation in the desire to show the West that the Kim Jong-un regime is stable.”
Choi noted that after allowing Western journalists to report on the country’s hunger crisis in 1995, North Korea received food aid from the United States. “They are hoping to use the AP to turn around their fortunes like they did back then … The North Korean authorities will only permit the release of information that it wants to be reported.”
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