A Digital-less North Korea


Sometime ago I watched a Youtube clip of Denis Rodman and the Harlem Globetrotters in North Korea. I only watched part 1 of the series of two because the absurdity of the event made a lasting impression of total oppression on me. I have travelled in Asia with my parents; hear stories of other people’s experiences and nothing compared to what I saw in that 14:32 sec clip.

When I scratched my head about the focus I need for my work in the subject of Digital Asia, part of my Media and Communications Degree, it was painfully obvious that the digital world in North Korea, or lack of it, might be an interesting place to start. This was not an easy decision to make because I had difficulty getting my head around the notion of an autoenthographic study, hence the tardiness of my initial efforts to blog. However, after visiting the DIGC 330 WordPress Blog I saw the types of subjects others were looking into and thought I may have an original idea.

My next thought was that it was probably going to be extremely difficult to source relevant research to expand my studies. North Korea being one of the most insular regimes in the world must have some stifling effect on the flow of information coming out of the country and the difficulties experienced by journalists and other observers entering the country made me sceptical concerning my information gathering fortunes. Nevertheless I will stick with my idea because the whole notion of total control of the digital environment in a country really made a negative impression on me. The totalitarian nature of the regime was so foreign to my psyche that I was drawn to find out more about it. It also made angered me that a population as large as North Koreas was being robbed of the entertainment, information and colour of the outside world. Sure it may not all be award winning stuff and there are negative aspects to the influences offered by aspects of the digital world but in the 21st Century people should have the choice – they should be able to enjoy the freedoms of digital communication and learn to deal with the Dark Side of the force.

So I will research what North Korea has to offer as a contribution to the digital Asia, it may be a very short case study or it may widening my conceptual understanding of a digital Asia and enthothnographic research. Only time will tell and I hope I can find some information to make it worthwhile.



  1. Ahhh, similar to how in China they have an agreement with Google to censor what the search engine allows the general public to see and also the regulation of social media such as Facebook. It’s super ridiculous- I bet North Korea is even more insane with its regulations. I look forward to reading more of your posts.


  2. I actually think this is a great idea! It is restricted but if you do want to continue looking into it it does feature a lot of propaganda. Here is a link to a news broadcast featured on North Korean television where they use old footage of FIFA world cups to make it look like North Korea is beating all of their political enemies and rivals (but not the countries that actually make it to the finals). It’s pretty funny. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJoRZOK18Fg


  3. North Korea is such an interesting topic of research, especially in relation to the technological discourses that have amassed such a place within global interaction. In terms of Digital Asia, the fact that the Asian continent is so much so at the forefront of new technology, further highlights why North Korea’s blanket policies are so interesting as media students.

    Heads up! Vice, who were fundamental in bringing Dennis Rodman to North Korea have a previously filmed a documentary in North Korea. Should give you a solid snapshot of North Korea from a Western journalists perspective.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s