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When I read this story, I was shocked. I have no idea how these people ever sleep!
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is the very archetype of a “closed society.” It ranks dead last—196th out of 196 countries—in Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press index. Unlike the citizens of, say, Tunisia or Egypt, to name two countries whose populations recently tapped the power of social media to help upend the existing political order, few North Koreans have access to Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube. In fact, except for a tiny elite, the DPRK’s 25 million inhabitants are not connected to the Internet. Televisions are set to receive only government stations. International radio signals are routinely jammed, and electricity is unreliable. Freestanding radios are illegal. But every North Korean household and business is outfitted with a government-controlled radio hardwired to a central station. The speaker comes with a volume control, but no off switch. In a new media age awash in universally shared information—an age of planet-wide instant messaging and texted manifestos—the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea remains a stubborn holdout, a regime almost totally in control of its national narrative. -North Korea’s Digital Underground by Robert S. Boynton (The Atlantic, April 2011)
Writing Prompt: Put your character in a situation where the radio never turns off. What is on the radio? What is your character’s reaction? How does your character cope?
Journaling Prompt: What media outlet do you wish you could turn off forever and why?
Art Prompt: Propaganda
Photo Credit: S. Diddy on Flickr
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