UMG: ‘1 Mill. Listeners Can Change North Korea’


Image: Unification Media Group

The first ever unification broadcasting
station for South and North Koreans kicked off Wednesday under the name UMG
[Unification Media Group]with a launching ceremony.

UMG is a consortium created by Radio Free
Chosun [RFC] and Open Radio for North Korea [ONK], shortwave radio stations
targeting North Korea; The Daily NK, an internet periodical reporting on all
aspects of North Korea; and OTV, an NGO-based internet television channel. The
group held its opening event at a seminar room in the National Assembly, where
it laid out plans to help people in the South and North better prepare for
unification.

More than anything, the issue of urgency
is creating a united drive for unification among people, and getting residents
in North Korea ready as members that will be part of the process,
the group announced through a declaration. We are launching this broadcast to bring together the power and
wisdom of our people and prepare for unification alongside fellow North
Koreans,
it added, explaining the goal of the new
station.

Unification is a project of the era that
we cannot avoid,
the declaration outlined. UMG will overcome the division between left and right, regions,
generations, and the confrontation between the South and North and contribute
to the era of unification by bringing together the 80 million people of this
nation.

The group also urged the South Korean
government and parliament to step up their efforts in securing a medium wave
frequency to ensure more North Koreans can tune in. The smaller radio stations
currently broadcasting into North Korea use short wave frequencies from other
countries, which allow them to reach only one to two percent of the population
in the North. In order to raise that figure to ten percent, one of UGM
s main objectives, government support is essential.

With the groups involved in
broadcasting into North Korea all combining forces, UMG will play a greater
role as a station specialized for North Korea issues,

Park Beom Jin, chairman of the board of directors for the Future Policy
Research Institute, said in his welcoming speech.
I
hope UMG plays a significant role in attaining the goal of working together
with North Koreans for unification.

Chairman of the ruling Saenuri Party, Kim
Moo Sung, also attended the ceremony, and stated, 
A
broadcast in North Korea from which people can hear voices of freedom plays a
more important role for its people than rice does.
He
added,
A broadcast that can offer a glimmer of light
in the darkness will give hope to the North Korean people.

25 million North Koreans are being forced
to believe in the cult of Kim Il Sung,
the chairman
continued.
In order to help reform people who have
been indoctrinated, broadcasts will play an important role, which is why the
unification broadcast is extremely significant,
Kim
emphasized.

Saenuri Party member Kim Moon Soo, who
heads the party
s reform committee, said in his
congratulatory speech,
Its
great power to be able to let people know in the North through broadcasts that
they are also loved, remembered, and their sufferings will not go unnoticed.
Kim added, Kim Jong Eun and other dark
forces will shudder at the idea that their people can listen to voices of
freedom.

The joint chairman of UMG, Lee Gwang Baek,
who heads Radio Free Chosun, said that within the next five years
[the group will] create a transmission station and foundation for
UMG and work towards the goal of securing 1 million North Korean listeners.

His belief is that with 1 million North
Koreans listening to broadcasts from the outside world, it will be
enough to build up a civic community that can spearhead change in North Korea.

UMG aims to officially open the doors of
its station next year with three legs: reporting, radio, and TV operations. The
broadcasts will offer news on North Korea from within the country to residents
in both Koreas.

Attending the event were some 100 prominent
figures from a number of different fields, including Jeong Kab Yoon, deputy
speaker of the National Assembly; Rep. Kim Eul Dong, Shim Yoon Joe, Ha Tae
Kyung from Saenuri Party; former vice minister of the Ministry of Unification,
Kim Seok Woo, acting as joint chairman for the launch; Ryu Keun Il, former
chief editor of the Chosun Ilbo; Joo Dae Hwan, head of Association for Social
Democracy; and Ahn Byeong Jik, Seoul National University professor emeritus.

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