[imText1]Recently the reporter met Young Howard, executive director of Open Radio for North Korea, which had sent its first program on air on the 7th of December, 2005. He said that one could provide mental nutrition to North Korean people by participating in broadcasting to the North, which could be a new movement of helping North Korean people. To know what Open Radio for North Korea is like, and how it will be operating, the reporter asked him several questions. The following is the full text of the reporter’s interview with him.
How are you doing?
Great. Thank you.
First of all, would you tell our Northern brethren why Open Radio for North Korea was founded?
There are three reasons. First of all, it is intended to reconcile brethren in South Korea and abroad. Sufficient communication is necessary for the Northern and Southern people to be reconciled by clearing out misunderstanding and distrust. The problem is that we do not have any medium through which we communicate our words to North Korean people. Thus, Open Radio for North Korea has been founded to open up a way of communicating with the North. Secondly, we want to let North Korean people recognize how good freedom is. North Koreans do not know what freedom means. Open Radio for North Korea will transfer various different thoughts and opinions. Anyone, either leftist or rightist, who participates in our broadcasting can send her words to North Korean people. That’s what freedom and pluralism guarantee. Open Radio for North Korea intends to be a school that teaches North Koreans the meaning of freedom. Lastly, we want to urge the free world to pay more attention to North Korean people. We expect more people in the South and abroad, and more individuals around the world to have interests in North Korea due to our broadcasting. This in turn makes us anticipate that more people will be willing to send their words to North Korean people.
Now, tell me how it will be operating?
Ok. Our major activity will be to inform a number of people including South Koreans, Americans, and Japanese about Open Radio for North Korea, and induce them to participate in its broadcasting. That’s because a lot of people must know about Open Radio for North Korea since its programs are intended to be produced by various people. Therefore, we will focus on publicity and advertisement.
Umm. What is then the difference between your broadcasting and those old broadcastings beamed at North Korea?
Open Radio for North Korea is different from the old broadcasters in several aspects. First of all, Open Radio for North Korea is a broadcasting service by which a variety of people participate in producing programs. What I am saying is that we will transmit anyone’s words to North Korean people by recording his voice in an audio file if he just wants to send his message to the North. That’s our fundamental difference from the old broadcasters, and that’s why we refer to our broadcasting system as the broadcasting of participation and community. The programs will be created by many different people, and thus our contents will express many different kinds of opinions, and hence we also call our broadcasting a broadcasting of pluralism. Put in another way, one can speak ether well or ill of the North Korean regime through our broadcasting. The free world allows the freedom of speech, and the pluralism. Nearly no issue is completely unanimously resolved. Since Open Radio for North Korea is a broadcasting of pluralism, it will contain both pros and cons, and both support and criticism.
I see. Now, would you have a chance to convey a message to North Korean people?
Two things. First, I wish North Korean people to realize and enjoy the meaning of freedom through our broadcasting. In North Korea, only such voice as admiration and support is existent for NK government. We can find both pros and cons in virtually every country except North Korea. In the free world, one can admire and support his country’s President or Chieftain, or she can criticize and oppose him. That’s what we call freedom. Second, I am afraid North Korean people do not recognize how concerned and enthusiastic many South Koreans, brethren abroad, and people around the world are about their situation. However, once a North Korean hears our broadcasting, he will know that North Koreans are not alone, and there are many people in the world sincerely willing to help them. Hence, I dare to say that Open Radio for North Korea will be a hope in making North Korean people dream of a more prosperous, happy, and beautiful society, and in turn build such a society in North Korea.
Would you speak to South Koreans and brethren abroad?
I wish to propose the second movement for helping North Korean people. I assume that the first movement was sending rice to the North for famine relief, and the second can be sending mental food. In other words, let’s send information, knowledge, hope, and courage to North Korean people. As a part of the movement, I propose to send 5 minute messages to North Korea. The receiver can be anyone in the North, for example, family members, relatives, Kim Jong Il, Kin Jong Cheol, Kim Jong Il’s son, Gye Soon Hee, and Cho Myeong Ae, Let’s send our own message to North Korea. Open Radio for North Korea is always ready to transmit any kind of message to the North.
Finally, could you explain your special event of sending new year messages to the North?
Our broadcasting service is going to give people a chance to send a message to all North Korean people free of charge including Kim Jong-il, starting on New Year’s Day and continuing for a week. We would broadcast free messages from South Koreans to North Koreans in general or to specific people there during this special event although we may, in general, charge 50 USD for 5 min messages in other time.
Open Radio for North Korea can be listened to by a short wave radio through 5880kHz for 1 hour from the midnight everyday.
Phone: (South Korea) 82-02-737-4880, (U.S.) 1-202-215-2775
Home Page: www.nkradio.com (Scheduled to open at January 1st, 2006.)