Revamp of North Korean Broadcasting System Revealed

Upon the instructions of Kim Jong Il, North Korea plans to establish film and television studios in every province during the first half of 2010, and has set the additional goal of reorganizing the structure of provincial television broadcasting in the country by 2012.

According to sources in Pyongyang, “On November 10th, at a meeting of vice-directors of the Propaganda and Agitation Department on the results of propaganda projects from the 150-Day Battle last year, the General (Kim Jong Il) ordered the creation of film and television studios with roots in each provincial art group and broadcasting company.”

Kim then apparently emphasized, “A strong and prosperous socialist state does not simply mean one with strong defensive power and no problems providing the necessities of life. Every citizen of a great socialist nation should also be well grounded, with proper ideology, awareness and cultural refinement that well suit the powerful socialist state.”

In addition, Kim went on, “To become a strong and prosperous socialist state we must see a period of renaissance in military-first Chosun,” and stressed, “Movie studios should be established in each province in order to publicize the good conduct of local citizens, and local citizens themselves should also bring about an era where basically anyone can create movies or become a movie star.”

Every province, led by the Propaganda and Agitation Department party and the Cultural Bureau of the People’s Committee, then began drawing up plans in accordance with Kim’s instructions. As part of that effort, sources report that they have been working to expand provincial art groups and Art Propaganda Teams since the end of November.

The new movie studios will not only produce short-films but also TV dramas. The North Korean authorities will primarily broadcast the films and dramas produced in this way in provincial movie theaters and via provincial broadcasting stations, but also plan to put those which gain momentum among the local people on Chosun (North Korea) Central TV, according to The Daily NK’s information.

As a consequence, city and provincial broadcasting stations, which previously only relayed broadcasts from Pyongyang, have been forced to consider how to form independent organizations as well as reorganize transmission systems and staffing.

Following on from Kim Jong Il’s instructions, North Korea’s leadership announced in the New Year’s Statement that, “In the cultural arts field we should create masterpieces with an innovative eye for the 21st century combined with 1970s methods and a spirit that philosophically reflects in-depth the mighty struggle of our Party and our citizen’s livelihoods, that can deepen the spiritual strength of our thousands of soldiers and civilians to the maximum.”

The North Korean broadcasting system is technically overseen by the Chosun Central Broadcast Committee, which is subordinate to the Cabinet. However, in practice, all kinds of broadcasting activities are primarily directed by the Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Central Committee of the Party.

In North Korea, the main nationwide state broadcaster is “Chosun Central Television,” however there is also “Kaesong Television Broadcasting Station,” which broadcasts propaganda aimed at South Korea, and “Mansudae Television Broadcasting Station,” which is only available to Pyongyang citizens and broadcasts during the weekend and national holidays.

In the case of movie studios, major ones include “Chosun Arts Movie Studio,” “April 25 Film Studio of the Korean People’s Army,” “Chosun Science Movie Studio,” “Chosun Documentary Studio,” “Chosun April 25 Children Movie Studio.” Each studio is said to have two or three writers attached to it, and each produces both films and television dramas.