07 March, 2015

The Plot to Free North Korea With Smuggled Episodes of 'Friends' | WIRED

The Plot to Free North Korea With Smuggled Episodes of 'Friends' | WIRED: The totalitarian government inherited by its 32-year-old leader, Kim Jong-un, punishes any real political resistance with death. And the regime’s most powerful tool for control remains its grip on North Korean minds. The state propaganda system indoctrinates its 25 million citizens from birth, insisting that the Kim family is infallible and that the country enjoys a superior standard of living. In a ranking of 197 countries’ press freedom by research group Freedom House, North Korea places last. It sees any attempt to introduce competing ideas, even the possession of a radio capable of accessing foreign frequencies, as a threat to its power; these infractions are punishable by exile to one of its prison camps, which hold as many as 200,000 people, according to Amnesty International. “The Kim regime needs its ideology,” Cha says. Without it, he argues, North Korea would face the same threats as every dictatorship, such as an internal coup or a popular revolt. “If they get to the point where all they can do is point guns at people, they’ll know their system has failed.”