The New Human Right

Last post I tried to investigate the extent to which North Korean citizens had access to and engaged in online video gaming. My investigations were aimed at providing a baseline from which to compare a contemporary aspect of western cultures with the culture of the Democratic Republic North Korea (DRNK). The other aspects of media I had researched in this country left me quite confused, angry and empathetic with the population lock into a despotic regime. Confused because I could not rationalize how a culture so trapped by the irrational ideology of a small elite minority and an unbalanced family of puppet leaders, could exist in the detente of the 21st Century. Angry because I could not understand why the rest of the cultures of the world allowed this total media control to happen and empathetic because I could understand that they were missing out on a freedom western cultures simply take for granted.

People in Australia and other first, second and even third world cultures have the media freedom to use, produce and transmit information and digital products across the World Wide Web. states that the search engine Google receives a daily search volume of 3.5 billion. Although no accurate statistics were available, this level of freedom does not exist in the DRNK. If we watch the Denis Rodman documentary and examine the set-up of the Technology Centre there is one man with the Google home page on the screen but he is not searching he is acting the part of a media engaged citizen. If it is so important change the outside world perception of a media oppressed culture then an intelligent person would do it with an actual interaction rather than a farcical set up.

If autoethnographic research is about using the important discoveries in the researcher’s life what I have discovered about the use of media in the Democratic Republic of North Korea has really had an impact on me. My studies into media and communication have broadened my knowledge and understanding of how media is used in many contexts and for many purposes. My enlightenment has shown me how powerful the use of media, specifically digital media, can be in improving the life of the user. In the 21st Century I feel that access to and freedom to engage with digital media is a new human right.


Pace , Steven (2012) Writing the self into research: Using grounded theory analytic strategies in autoethnography in TEXT Special Issue: Creativity: Cognitive, Social and Cultural Perspectives

eds. Nigel McLoughlin & Donna Lee Brien, April 2012



Raab, Diana (2013) Transpersonal Approaches to Autoethnographic Research and Writing

The Qualitative Report 2013 Volume 18, Article 42, 1-18


Philaretou, A.G. & Allen, K.R. 2006, “Researching Sensitive Topics through Autoethnographic Means”, Journal of Men’s Studies, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 65.

One comment

  1. Hey James,

    I think your realisation that your own life as a BCM student informs your values and beliefs around what’s important for individuals and for culture is a really great part of doing autoethnography as described by Ellis et al. You recognise yourself as a cultural outsider and you seem to understand how this shapes your dismay, anger, and confusion.

    Before you started studying, how was media important to you? How did it shape your life? Were there TV shows or cartoons you considered essential to shaping your childhood? Has being active online impacted your values and beliefs? What would your life look like without these influences? More specifically, can you imagine yourself inside this environment of media censorship? Asking these questions may help you to be more self-reflective in your research and put the ‘auto’ into ‘autoethnography’.

    Great start!


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