No - it can't be true!
You cannot seriously be suggesting that copyright infringement can have positive results. Don't you even care about the creative industries?
(I was going to put a note about irony here, but it would probably be wasted)
Reclusive totalitarian state and US-hater North Korea has taken a very small step towards greater press freedom, although not through any humanitarian efforts of the Kim Jong-un regime. NORKS remains in last place in the latest annual rankings drawn up by Washington-based NGO Freedom House with a miserly score of just 96, tied …
They don't really power down a town then go door to door to check the contents of DVD players, that would require a registry of government issued DVD players that were specially designed to prevent someone removing the discs and could distinguish between mains power and an appropriate transformer running off some car batteries.
I think it's way more likely that this is simply propaganda, reported as fact in the Nork media to make citizens think twice about buying a cheap DVD from Chinese blokes toting sports bags, probably intended to keep the state owned version of blockbusters in business more than identifying dissidents, i'm pretty sure Mr Kim already knows that they're all dissidents.
Assuming people have transformers and batteries ready. Actually searching a whole town in a day would be a logistical challenge, but I can imagine them doing it on a district-by-district basis. Remember that these are not the most sensible of security forces: They are paranoid to an extreme, and act accordingly. Measures we would reject as comically over-the-top might seem entirely reasonable.
"Measures we would reject as comically over-the-top might seem entirely reasonable."
Like the TSA ?
This is more likely just US propaganda - anyone sense us being prepared for another invasion ?
When it comes to paranoid in the extreme, us=nork . They have there gulags, US has Guantanamo.
Yeah. We're like totally identical to nk here in the US! Why, I can't even count the number of times I've been bundled off to Guantanamo because a neighbor reported a family member for being disloyal. And obviously everyone in tue neighborhood pretty much lives on tree bark.
That's why we're all so fat.
"Err... Are you trying to tell us that Senator Joseph McCarthy was a figment of our imagination?"
Are you trying to tell us that McCarthy had anyone sent to Guantanamo at all? You do know - or maybe you don't - that the only people who went to prison for anything connected with McCarthy were people who perjured themselves, right?
"Err... Are you trying to tell us that Senator Joseph McCarthy was a figment of our imagination?"
I am getting on a bit but I wasn't born when the communist witch-hunts were in full swing in the USA. By contrast, the Kim dynasty has been mistreating their own people for 60 years and show no signs of letting up. Whilst the USA and other western democracies may have many faults, it is patently absurd to suggest that life in any of them bears any resemblance to that in North Korea.
McCarthy was a self-promoting, career-destroying paranoiac, but there is a big difference between destroying someone's career in the movies or academia versus DPRK-style carting them (and their family, and then their children born in captivity) off to the gulag to often never be seen again.
"I think it's way more likely that this is simply propaganda, reported as fact in the Nork media..."
Neither the original article, http://www.northkoreatech.org/2013/05/02/dprk-moves-up-a-point-but-still-worst-for-press-freedom/ or this article in The Register say anything about this being reported by or based on information from the Nork media. The original North Korea Tech blog article simple states that their report is based on "information from the country".
"i'm pretty sure Mr Kim already knows that they're all dissidents."
That's probably not too far removed from the truth, but unlike the Nork regime, you seem to not realize that there is a distinction between those whose dissidence is strictly internal, and those whose dissidence has gone so far as to actually involved actions of some sort.
"probably intended to keep the state owned version of blockbusters in business". I'll assume that that was not intended as a joke. If the regime can starve their people to death in droves, then you surely can't expect them to care what kind of profit the culture industry aka the propaganda apparatus is showing, can you? The regime is concerned about ideological competition and the ability to define "truth", and about the control of information, and not costs and the profits and losses being rung up by the propaganda apparatus. I'd have thought that this would be painfully obvious to anyone...
>Can't you open most DVD-players with a paperclip and hide the contrabande?
It is not always easy or even possible, especially if you are in panic, expecting the Thought Police to break your door at any moment.
(I would recommend the use of those portable players, where the disk is spinning under a lid that is opened manually).
"... i'm pretty sure Mr Kim already knows that they're all dissidents..."
Probably true, but the NORK paranoia is spreading, inasmuch as they're beginning to fear their own downtrodden as much as they fear the outside world.
Read "Nothing to envy", and you will see that a populace exposed to external media cannot continue to swallow the "We have nothing to envy" propaganda. Mr Kim & his élite's position is slowly becoming just a little more precarious every year.
"I think it's way more likely that this is simply propaganda, reported as fact in the Nork media to make citizens think twice about buying a cheap DVD from Chinese blokes toting sports bags, probably intended to keep the state owned version of blockbusters in business more than identifying dissidents, i'm pretty sure Mr Kim already knows that they're all dissidents."
Why not go on one of those trips to North Korea, smuggle in a DVD player and some DVDs of anything from South Korea or the imperialist Yankees and then tell us about it when you get back?
Whilst I've not witnessed it myself, I've heard similar from people inside the DPRK; the facts as I heard them was that the power to a tower block could be cut off and the video cassettes inside VCRs then checked individually. VCR is what the man said; I've no reason to think it wouldn't extend to DVD players, although as I recall getting a video cassette out of a VCR is typically much harder than getting a DVD out of a DVD player.
I've also read, separately, that owning a TV and some kind of playback mechanism is a source of pride and it's common for neighbours not only to know that you've got it, but to drop in to watch with you. As such, to escape the inspection you'd have to have kept it secret permanently.
So, if the power goes out, they hide the DVD player. Another alternative would be to buy a DVD player that had a manual release; you know, where you use a paperclip to eject it. I guess next the NORKS will be banning paperclips. I wonder if that also means that the use of Office 97 through 2003 would be banned. Clippy is so unloved.
"Another alternative would be to buy a DVD player that had a manual release"
You don't seem to understand quite how things work under socialism. It's not like people can walk into a well-stocked store like you can and choose from a selection of similar but different goods: they buy whatever they can get and consider themselves very lucky. In other words, it's not that one day they said to themselves that they need a DVD player, it's that they got lucky and found a store, or a black marketer, who has a DVD player for sale.
Your neighbours know you have it. A few years ago having a TV and a playback mechanism was a source of pride to be shown off (and often shared) with the neighbours. If the inspectors come to the door and you claim not to have one, someone is going to turn you in. Not only are they conditioned to, they're afraid not to. The first person to turn you in will be OK; everyone who had the opportunity to turn you in and didn't now has a problem.
I have no special knowledge or insight on the subject and therefore have no business addressing your question. But since you have no way of knowing this, I'll go ahead and take this one.
Almost every household in North Korea owns a Coby portable DVD player. The fact that these devices are battery operated very well may have something to do with the relatively low success rate of this particular anti-piracy method.
I wonder how a North Korean NGO would rate the US government and media. If they watched Fox probably not well, although they might pickup a few tips.
It would be interesting to see how well they rate some places with iffy records on press freedom but that we happen to be friends with (say perhaps some of our friends in parts of the world with lots of oil under a thin crust of sand) as compared to the current #1 evil dude and biggest threat to humanity (and puppies) North Korea.
Theres no doubt the Norks are pretty strict, but a recent bbc news article suggested that it's nowhere near as strict as we are led to believe, smuggling from China is rampant and overlooked, cell phones (especially near the Chinese border using Chinese networks) are reasonably common etc. Maybe I'm just getting old and cynical but I'm not entirely convinced that certain elements of the media aren't making NK look even worse that it is (and it probably is pretty bad to begin with).
If a hypothetical NK NGO watched Fox ... they would see a TV presenter condemning the President - calling him incompetent and un-American, even - and *not being sent to the gulag with their entire family*. How can you seriously compare the two? Yes, the West has plenty of faults, but we don't have starving children dying in the streets, nor do we execute entire families for not loving the Dear Leader enough.
I'm so sorry that went over your head. I wasn't saying the US government was as bad as the Norks. I was suggesting that our NGO might not be impartial, and that an equally impartial ngo could ridicule a propaganda outfit like fox.
As for gulags, let's see a fox presenter criticize their glorious leaders (rupert or palin), they'd be praying for a gulag.
I'm sure the NORKs require purchasers of DVD players to register them. They know who has one, so hiding/swapping is futile. Closing up Kaesong makes me think Kimmy's getting ready for some serious repression to consolidate his power. Kim's playing defense while making pro-offense statements, but those in the know, know better. Tyrants elsewhere have had a bad time of it lately. How does Kim make sensible progressive moves without appearing to lose face? The kid's in a bad position. Unfortunately, faced with tough choices, hereditary tyrants usually respond by cranking up the pain. See Mssrs Assad, Gaddafi, Mubarak et al.
You can bet the West is doing all it can to destabilize the regime, because that's what the West does best. Unexpected consequences be damned. Unfortunately for the West, the DPRK has borders with Russia and China. That probably means the pot will keep simmering while a few million more NORKs die in the name of global something-or-other.
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