INSIDE NORTH KOREA: FOUR CORNERS
MONDAY 17 FEBRUARY, 8.30PM ABC1
Kim Jong Un, the world’s youngest dictator, rules a secret and repressive state. Anyone who opposes him, or offers even a hint of rivalry, may be arrested and killed. But might new technology become the North Korean leader’s greatest enemy?
Thanks to the digital revolution, Kim can no longer keep the world from seeing the reality of life in North Korea – and just as importantly, he can’t stop his own people from discovering that much of what they have been told about the outside world is lies.
This week Four Corners reveals the hidden world of North Korea. Using footage shot by an undercover team using concealed cameras, the program shows the poverty and the duplicity of the brutal regime. The camera footage shows how the information revolution is ending North Korea’s 60 years of isolation and reveals what may well be the first rumblings of broader discontent against the country’s leader.
Jiro Ishimaru, a fearless Japanese journalist who has risked his freedom for 15 years, trains undercover cameramen in North Korea. We follow his latest trip to the border with China, where he secretly meets one of his agents – and we see the realities of life in the secret state. Homeless children are starving in the streets. The elite in Pyongyang drive the latest Mercedes, while kids scrabble for crumbs nearby. One secret filmmaker asks to buy goods in Pyongyang’s No. 1 Department Store but is told he can’t: they’re just for show, to impress the foreigners.
We follow Mr Chung, the former inmate of a political prison camp who escaped to the West, as he smuggles USB sticks and DVDs of South Korean soap operas and entertainment shows into the North, posing as a mushroom farmer. He says that his biggest hit so far has been the James Bond movie ‘Skyfall’.
The filming also shows the first stirrings of open dissent. A woman running a bus service on the back of a lorry refuses to bribe a soldier, and instead openly screams abuse. More ominously for Kim Jong Un, we hear mutterings of discontent and disrespect from an official commandeered to build a special railway to the supreme leader’s birthplace. “How much does he know about the military? He shouldn’t be there... he’s hopeless!”
INSIDE NORTH KOREA, made by Hardcash Productions and presented by Kerry O’Brien, goes to air on Monday 17th February at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 18th February at 11.35pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm or ABC iview (abc.net.au/iview).