[imText1]As the Germany World Cup currently heats up the world, the delightful news that North Koreans can also watch the World Cup in their homes is being spread.
On June 14th, Chosun-Shinbo(Courier), a Chochongryon (the pro-North Korean residents’ league in Japan) bulletin reported “From the night of the 11th, the Chosun Central Television Broadcast televised the 2006 Germany World Cup Opening Ceremony and the Germany-Costa Rica match for one hour, through ground wave broadcasting.”
With the help of Northern World Cup viewers, and with support from South Korea re-broadcasting the World Cup, the screening is also being delivered to the North Korean people.
On May 30th, help was requested by the Chosun Central Broadcasting Committee from Southern World Cup viewers, in which the South Korean Broadcasting Committee notified FIFA World Cup Broadcast marketing coordinators of the request. Signals are now being transmitted via 3 Thai Thaicom satellites to North Korean central television satellite channels.
Telecasts of Victory Matches by Enemy Countries Prohibited, Telecasts If Defeated
The reporter looks back on watching the Italy World Cup in North Korea in 1990.
“While watching Maradona’s outstanding play, piercing through 5 or 6 defenders and scoring a goal, the people and even I without knowing, let out a sigh of admiration. Names of soccer stars of the past years such as Brazil’s Pele, Argentina’s Maradona, and Germany’s Beckenbawa were not unfamiliar to me.”
North Korean soccer enthusiasts reminisce the miracle World Cup quarter finals of the North Korean soccer team and the immense enthusiasm of the people. During pre-season, soccer enthusiasts noted the teams that would be competing with North Korea and studied their past games in preparation.
People became excited over the possibility of a World Cup victory, or even a semi-final or quarter-final berth, while keeping an eye on neighboring people. People without TV’s in their own homes would gather at another person’s house, engrossed in stimulating discussions of soccer.
Although there is great interest in the World Cup amongst elder people, young people are not as aware of many past soccer stars. This is due to the restrictions placed on World Cup broadcasts by North Korean authorities.
In accordance with the practice of not televising matches of enemy countries, the 1994 U.S. World Cup match was not televised. Moreover, news of victories by enemy countries such as the U.S, Japan, or even South Korea were not televised at all.
As the majority of broadcasts are video recordings, North Korean authorities are discertionary in what they televise. While victories of enemy countries are not broadcast, defeats are televised. During the U.S.-South Korea match at the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup, Ahn Jung Hwan’s snatched goal and ceremony gained much attention when it appeared on North Korean news.
As the current World Cup will not be broadcast live, it is inevitable that matches played by enemy countries will not be televised.
People Have Great Interest in Match Advertisements
By watching the World Cup, North Korean people are gaining an understanding of the diverse standards in lifestyle and culture of people around the world. The interior of the stadium, the player’s uniforms and the enthusiasm of soccer fans, are all new to the eyes of the people.
In particular, the neon advertisements flashing within the stadium have made an imapct. Seeing international brands line the advertisement boards, people who have studied a fair bit act as ‘Interpreters’, explaining that ‘Sony’ is a Japanese company, ‘Coca Cola’ American, and ‘Samsung’ Korean.
People tilt their heads in disbelief listening to one saying ‘Advertisements cannot be displayed by anyone’ and ‘One advertisement reaches astronomical figures.’
To North Koreans hearing the words of the ‘interpreters’ who have known only idolization of their leader and the advertisements of North Korean system propaganda, the astronomical fees of the neon billboards on buildings and sports arenas create many suspicions.
North Korea faces an electricity shortage. and excluding Pyongyang, other North Korean villages normally have electricity stoppage by 10PM. If the electricity is turned off during a match, people can only helplessly curse the electricity station.