Don't Ask Me, I Don't Know...

Choi Song Min  |  2013-04-16 23:33
The fomenting of a wartime atmosphere without any sign of actual conflict has done little more than lend weight to domestic distrust of North Korean officialdom, according to sources inside the country. Conversely, the net result is that news from external radio broadcasters that travels by word-of-mouth is gaining additional currency, all at the direct expense of state output.

The source, from Hamheung in South Hamkyung Province, told Daily NK on the 16th, “No matter what the Party shouts about, the people just don’t believe a word of it.” However, “More and more people are listening to external radio and spreading word of its contents, and that kind of information is gaining currency.”

“Our newspapers and broadcasters are all full of false propaganda anyway, so a lot of people are more interested in external news,” the source went on. “People who know about international news and are willing to disseminate the information are popular, too, so more and more people are listening to radio now.”

The state has long placed its security services on alert to the threat posed by illicit radio listening. However, small, battery-powered radios can be hidden and listened to in secret, making the activity incredibly hard to detect from without the homes of violators.

Popular discourse has developed around this idea of listening secretly to radio and then transmitting the contents. In the source’s home region, a receiver of information might ask the transmitter, “Who told you that?” or ‘Where did you hear that from?” and if the transmitter replies “Molla,” meaning literally “I don’t know,” they actually mean, “I heard it on the radio.”
 
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