TVOM Radio Broadcasts
New Information Available on NK Radio Listenership
Last quarter we reported on two recent studies done by a US congressionally funded non-profit that supports “anti-censorship” in areas like North Korea. As each report is over 100 pages long, there is additional important information that we’ve written about below related to short-wave and medium-wave radio.
How Does the NK Regime Find Illegal Radios in order to Punish Those who Listen?
The NK government has become more adept at ultilizing technology to find offenders who are accessing foreign content on their devices. They are able to do this through software that is employed on networked devices . . . most notably cell phones and computers. If a device is networked, then it instantly becomes more easy to monitor.
For example, several years ago software was automatically put on every phone and computer which instantly made “non-sanctioned” media files no longer playable on these networked devices. It was also reported, that not only were the files not able to be played, but they were deleted by the program itself. Additionally, NK also has a program called “TraceViewer” which records the browser history of the user and takes periodic screenshots of their activity. This same type of functionality also extends to USB devices that are inserted into a networked device. Software is automatically installed on the USB which then records every device that the USB is inserted into and the files that are downloaded or uploaded (Compromising Connectivity, pgs. 44-53).
This is particulary important, because more devices are now linked to a network in North Korea. And when devices are networked, it is then easier to monitor and regulate.
The average North Korean has access to more and more technology. Radios, TVs, DVD players, USB devices, SD cards, MP3/4 players and mobile phones. But while NK is becoming more high-tech, North Koreans remain adept at sharing this technology in low-tech ways. Most of this media is passed from person to person. While this often means that media is shared more slowly, it is much more difficult for the government to control. And as noted in the last report, the most popular way to share information would still be “word-of-mouth.”
Many devices that North Koreans own would still be non-networked and thus it would be markedly safer to play/copy material on these non-networked devices. Radios would be one example of a non-networked device and thus would be one reason why radio continues to remain popular despite the quick expansion and progress of other technologies.
But just because the radio is “non-networked” doesn’t mean it is safe. It is widely known and understood that the government employs special units (or groups) to police illegal media and communications (especially non-networked devices). The most widely known group is called “Group 109.” According to the Compromising Connectivity report, Group 109’s mission is to “inspect and confiscate a variety of goods and items manufactured or produced in foreign countries, and detain, interrogate and refer for prosecution those NK citizens who possess and/or distribute these items and goods.”
One specific law that they are tasked with enforcing is Artcicle 195 which concerns “the crime of listeinging to hostile broadcasts, or collecting, keeping and spreading printed matters or objects of allurement,” and prosecutes “whomever, without anti-state purposes, listens systematcially to anti-DPRK broadcasts or cllects, keeps, or spread handbills, photographs, videos, pritned materials of allurement” (Compromising Connectivity, pgs. 27-29).
Speaking on behalf of persecuted Christians, Richard Wurmbrand famously said, “Give us the tools we need. We will pay the price for using them.” North Koreans who listen to short-wave and medium-wave radio inside of North Korea feel similarly. It is extremely dangerous for a North Korean to get caught listening to a Christian broadcast and yet almost 30% of the population (7,000,000 people) have listened to these types of broadcasts. And over 90% of those North Koreans who have listened to radio, listen to these broadcasts over and over again (Compromising Connectivity, pg. 11). They know the risks and yet deem the content of these broadcasts worth the risks.
Please Join with us in Prayer for the Following Requests:
아래 기도 제목으로 함께 기도해주세요.
- Pray for both South Koreans and North Koreans as they record our radio broadcasts. Every week we have multiple people in our studio who record their voices to be sent to North Korea. They are most often recording Scripture passages and sermons which were written by early Korean Christians. Pray that the Lord would use these broadcasts to not only touch the hearts of the listeners, but of those recording as well!
- Pray for North Koreans who access gospel content on the radio. Every time a North Korean turns on an illegal short-wave radio they risk being seen and heard, not only by a neighbor, but also by special units that are trained to find these types of devices. All foreign content that is accessed is dangerous, but anything that is related to Christianity is extremely dangerous.
자주 묻는 질문
What's new in NK radio ministry?
We’ve recently been updating the way in which we broadcast into NK. We learned that TV news broadcasting in NK has more of the sound of our old style broadcast but radio broadcasting in NK is using warmer personal voices these days. Our broadcast is pioneering the use of a combined NK/SK announcing corps, with NKs and SKs interacting about the Bible and the Christian faith in friendly voices. It’s very revolutionary and we think it will attract a wider range of listeners. We are also excited to be broadcasting between program segments the new NK hymns that were recorded as part of last year’s Hymnal Project. These songs were recorded in the traditional NK style and sung by former members of art performance teams in North Korea. We expect that their traditional voices will touch North Koreans’ hearts through the North Korean classical style hymns.
Listen to Amazing Grace in North Korean!
Listen to As The Deerin North Korean!
Listen to God Is So Good in North Korean!
What do we broadcast into North Korea?
Our radio broadcasts are produced by our North Korean Underground University students. In the broadcasts the students share Scripture—both in its pure form and in the North Korean-style dramas which hold such interest for our audience. They read from books on Christian persecution to help underground believers there understand why they face the challenges they do and how to bear up under them.
There are also discipleship training segments, songs (often rewritten versions of North Korean “hymns” originally designed to praise Kim Il Sung), and—for the first time this year—“live” segments where our announcers reflect on their own experiences and explain what are often the very new and foreign words and concepts of Scripture.
How many North Koreans listen to the broadcast?
There are an estimated 2 million North Koreans who tune into their illegal radios each evening.
Does the North Korean government try to block our broadcasts?
Our broadcast is the regular target of ultimately unsuccessful blocking attempts of the North Korean government. The blocking attempts are the best indicators we have of how threatening the NK regime considers our broadcast to be. One of the ways that we overcome the blocking is through our active team of engineers who do whatever it takes on a nightly basis to enable the broadcast to be heard.
It is likely that our broadcast is threatening to NK not only because it is Christian but also because it is voiced by North Koreans. Many broadcasts use South Korean voices. Not only does this make the broadcast harder for North Koreans to understand, but the regime likely considers South Korean voices of evangelism to be less threatening than North Korean voices of evangelism.
Do you have any testimonies of North Koreans listening to the radio?
JKS, a North Korean defector, shared her experience of listening to the radio while she was in North Korea, she came to South Korea in 2006. She said that she listened to the radio for 3 months with her friends just before she left the North. She said that it was quite easy to receive the gospel radio programs and other radio programs from South Korea because she lived in a border area. Here is the story of JKS’ experience of listening to the radio in North Korea:
One night, we closed the door and listened to the radio under the blanket. At the moment that I listened to the radio from South Korea, it was not only amazing but also tears pricked my eyes because of our nation’s state of division.From that point on, I kept listening to radio broadcasts from South Korea with my father. We realized that Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un and their followers are untruthful. I sometimes got furious with them.Later, after I arrived in South Korea, when I talked with my home folks, there were some people who also listened to South Korean radio broadcasts in North Korea. They said that they covered themselves with blankets and agreed that the best time for listening to the radio was from 10 pm to 2:30 am.