Radio Free Chosun [RFC] and Open Radio for
North Korea [ONK], shortwave radio stations targeting North Korea; are teaming
up with The Daily NK, an internet periodical reporting on all aspects of North
Korea; and OTV, an NGO-based internet television channel; to form the “first
ever unification broadcasting station for both North and South Koreans.” The
consortium, known as Unification Media Group [UMG], will host its opening event in
Seoul on November 26th.
The kickoff event is scheduled to take
place at 2p.m. in the third seminar room of the National Assembly, where the
group plans to outline the goals of the organization while explaining how both the government and citizens of South Korea can help achieve them.
As part of these efforts, RFC and ONK, both
in operation since 2005, aim to reach one million residents of North Korea in
the next five years. By reaching 10% of North Korea’s adult population, the
broadcasts will provide residents access to international information aimed at
instilling them with notions of a democratic society, enabling them to
contribute to the eventual unification of the two Koreas. UGM maintains that these one million people will change the face of North Korean society dramatically.
Securing a medium wave frequency is
paramount to achieving this goal, as these private radio broadcasts are
currently only able to reach about 1-3% of North Korea’s population. The South
Korean government has taken a noncommittal approach in providing an AM
frequency for these stations to broadcast to the North, and as a result,
low-powered signals borrowed from other transmitters are being employed,
resulting in a relatively narrow reach.
Upon the designation of an AM frequency with the support of the South Korean government, UMG plans to develop a
transmission station capable of broadcasting to the entire peninsula, centered
on fostering social consensus around unification matters.
Beginning at the beginning of 2015, the
consortium will feature TV, radio, and newsroom components to broadcast news
from inside North Korea to residents in both Koreas. The television leg of the
group will focus predominantly on unification issues and policies.
Many of the venture’s promoters are
scheduled to attend the event, including Ryu Keun Il, former chief editor of
the Chosun Ilbo and former KBS board president; Park Beom Jin, chairman of the
board of directors for the Future Policy Research Institute; Ahn Byeong Jik,
Seoul National University professor emeritus, and a number of other
intellectuals and North Korean experts from the Korean community both
domestically and abroad.