print the article

Related articles
  1. European Radio Network at Risk
  2. Community radio support freedom of expression
  3. Training of the Catholic Radio Network
  4. Strengthening Maya Community Radio in Belize
  5. Training programme for Nigerian radio presenters
  6. Radio Training workshop in South Sudan
  7. Radio Cop22, serving the worldwide community radio movement
  8. The eleventh Catholic Radio operational in Kenya
  9. Radio Exchanges Across Borders
  10. Workshop on interactive radio for family farming and food security in Asia-Pacific
  11. Community radio podcast in the Philippines.
  12. SIGNIS Asia radio workshop in Indonesia
  13. Indian students trained for community radio
  14. Congolese Radio Drama to change Human rights and Health
  15. Cultural Survival Announces Indigenous Community Radio Grant Initiative
  16. Forty years of Radio Veritas Asia’s Mandarin Service
  17. A radio show for HIV positive South-Africans
  18. Liberian radio show on civics education
  19. Inspiration FM... Promoting Morals, Preserving Family Values
  20. Bringing environmental advocacy to Philippine airwaves
  21. Two new Community Radio Stations in Kenya
  22. A new portable FM radio transmitter now available in crisis regions
  23. New radio show to empower Nigerian women
  24. Bangladesh’s first Catholic radio is now on air
  25. A Radio Station To Heal Central African Republic
  26. Community radios in disaster prone Indian disctricts
  27. A radio station in South Sudan tries to reach more audience
  28. Ugandan CBS FM Turns 20
  29. Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication’s (BNNRC) wins UN prize
  30. Radio Maria Malawi mentors young journalists
  31. Community radio stations in Africa
  32. BBC World Service Radio Expands in West Africa
  33. Giyani Community Radio celebrates its 2 years anniversary
  34. AMARC condemns threats against Syrian community radio ARTA FM
  35. Radio station as a tool for Ethiopian farmers
  36. Community Radio seminar on Disaster Risk Reduction
  37. South Africa licences over 140 community radio stations
  38. New Catholic Radio Station in South Sudan
  39. Kasese Guide Radio working for the community in Uganda
  40. AMARC Asia-Pacific reacts to the closing down of community radio stations in Japan
  41. Tackling cholera through radio in Kenya
  42. AMARC to fight against Zika in Latin America and the Carribbean
  43. New community radio in Guatemala
  44. Peace Radio Network launched in South Sudan
  45. Call to participation “Communicating Development”: an international audio series
  46. Radio Emmanuel: giving a voice to the voiceless
  47. Afghan women’s radio
  48. Veritas Pilipinas to receive Hildegarde journalism Award
  49. Women’s voices: an international audio series
  50. The role of community radios in the promotion of Algeria
  51. World Radio Day celebrated around the world
  52. Ghetto Radio: Nairobi’s voice of the streets
  53. World Radio Day
  54. Kokoyah break ground for first community radio station in Botota (Liberia)
  55. Support indigenous community radio in Guatemala
  56. New radio programme to raise awareness of the dangers of climate change
  57. New Catholic radio station seeks to promote peace and reconciliation in Kenya.
  58. Join AMARC for the World Radio Day
  59. The Syliphone archive
  60. "Stories from the soils": a collection of stories
  61. Radyo Natin-Guimba serves as model for new community radio stations in the Philippines
  62. Ethiopian Catholic Church to use radio during the Year of Mercy
  63. First Central American Indigenous Radio Conference
  64. Indian students exposed to community radio
  65. Mediacorp celebrates 80 years of radio with year-long initiative
  66. Premier Radio makes official complaint to Equalities Commission after cinemas ban Nativity advert
  67. Radio sets distributed to promote FM radio in India
  68. Young Ivorian reporters broadcast to their community
  69. New radio habits in Namibia
  70. AMARC International Board met in Paris
  71. The World Radio communication Conference
  72. Radio Maria will be broadcasting in Arabic
  73. UK International Radio Drama Festival 2016
  74. 16 Days of activism against gender-based violence
  75. Second anniversary of the Upendo FM radio station in Kenya
  76. ECOWAS TV and radio channels will come on stream in 2017
  77. Central Mindanao radio station wins CMMA award
  78. Remembering Vatican Radio’s Bernard Decottignies
  79. Preaching across the demilitarized zone in Korea
  80. Indigenous Community Radio Coordinator Visits Radios in Central America
  81. The role of Women in Latin American radio history
  82. BBC stands by ‘unpopular’ religious Radio 4 programmes
  83. International Rafto prize for Honduran Priest and radio activist for defending freedom of expression
  84. Towards COP21: Broadcasting the voices of the communities - An international radio series
  85. AMARC - Global Fund for Radio Campaigns
  86. Jack Byrne, media literacy and Community radio in Dublin
  87. AMARC launches international community radio programme
  88. Sri Lanka : Specialized bible story CDs popular at Colombo book fair
  89. Radio Maria Uganda Gulu Substation embraces the national workshop resolution
  90. Pope Francis to release a pop-rock album!
  91. Portugal : Radio Renascença interviewed Pope Francis
  92. Papua: SSR together with diocesan radio stations
  93. AMARC 11: New management, new challenges for Community Radio broadcasters
  94. Twenty Catholic radio stations will be active in Kenya by 2020
  95. World Radio Day 2015: Youth and Radio
  96. First Christian Radio Launched in Pakistan
  97. Kenyan Diocese of Isiolo Set to Launch its Radio Station
  98. Catholic Radio Journalist Murdered in Central African Republic
  99. Official Opening of the World Radio Day 2013 Platform
  100. Vatican Radio: From Short Waves to New Communications Strategies
  101. SSR Provides New Portable FM Radio Station
  102. Online campaign for Radio Shalom in Sierra Leone
  103. "Kalam Ke Geet", New Audio Production of WAVE Studio Lahore
  104. First UNESCO World Radio Day on February 13
  105. Community Media and the Arab Spring Conference to be held in Tunis March 2012
  106. “Value of Radio” Workshop in Lahore, Pakistan
  107. Vatican Radio: Around the World in 80 Years
  108. L’Osservatore Romano Offers Free Radio Program
  109. AMARC 10 Global Conference in La Plata, Argentina
  110. Australia’s Newest Catholic Media, CRADIO - An Internet Radio Station
  111. Suriname’s Radio Katolika on the Internet
  112. Radio Dialogue Losing Patience over Licence Delays
  113. Haiti: AMARC Calls on Community Broadcasters to Rally in Support
  114. Radio for Peacebuilding Africa Awards 2009 Promotes Empowerment and Peacebuilding
  115. Radio Program Empowers Young People in Cambodia
  116. Radio for Peacebuilding Africa Awards 2009
  117. Faith Satellite Radio and SIGNIS Services Rome Begin a New Phase
  118. 4th Pan African Conference of AMARC Africa Reinforces Community Radio Networks in Africa
  119. Radio Pacis in Uganda Wins Capacity Building Award
  120. Radio BOSCO FM 89.9 Celebrates its 4th Anniversary in the Solomons
  121. Radio Voices Without Frontiers 2009
  122. First World Congress of Catholic Radios Focuses on Identity and Future
  123. H2Onews: Vatican Radio at the Service of Worldwide Radio
  124. H2Onews: The Radio, the Modern Pulpit
  125. H2Onews: World Congress of Catholic Radio
  126. Faith Satellite Radio to Air American Catholic Radio Programming
  127. Faith Satellite Radio to Air Maryknoll Programming
  128. BBC Helps Award Winning Radio Pacis to Launch FM Frequency
  129. Bosco FM Celebrates 3 Years of Community Broadcasting
  130. Zimbabwe: Radio Dialogue Recording from Prison to Be Broadcast on BBC
  131. Cambodia: Catholic Church Uses Radio To Inform, Empower Youth
  132. Faith Satellite Radio Begins Shipping to Africa
  133. Catholic Radio Stations in the US Set to Double
  134. First Conference of AMARC Africa - MENA in Rabat, Morocco
  135. Portuguese-speaking Radios Meet in Portugal on the 10th Anniversary of VOX
  136. Voz Latina Radio wins another Gabriel Award
  137. 19th URTI International URTI Radio Grand Prix
  138. Kenya: Church to open three new radio stations
  139. Pakistan: WAVE Celebrates 30 Years of Interreligious Dialogue
  140. Faith Satellite Radio and SIGNIS to Offer Satellite Radio in Africa
  141. Radio RTK of Malta Celebrates 15 Years of Broadcasting
  142. Trinity FM, Catholic Radio Station of Papua New Guinea Celebrates 4th Anniversary
  143. RKK Calls for Easter Radio Programs
  144. Radio Bakhita, first Catholic radio station in Sudan launched
  145. Voz Latina Radio Wins Gabriel Award
  146. Radio for Peacebuilding Awards 2006
  147. AMARC Launches Forum on Social Impact of Community radio
  148. SIGNIS Africa Radio Workshop in Dar es Salaam: "Behaviour Change Through Radio"
  149. UNICEF/OneWorld Radio competition for Youth Broadcast
  150. Radio Dialogue: Speaking to the Community through "Taxi Tunes"
  151. AMARC Africa Round Table on Community Radio
  152. Community Radio to Come to Kiribati
  153. Malaysia’s First Community Based Online Radio Station Goes on Air
  154. Family Theater Productions podcasting Voz Latina dramatic radio series
  155. Listen to the “Voices of our World” online
  156. Radio BOSCO Solomon Celebrates its First Anniversary
  157. Pontiff Notes a Milestone for Vatican Radio
  158. Asia-Pacific gets new regional network for community radio

Preaching across the demilitarized zone in Korea

Seoul, Brussels, November 2nd, 2015 (UCAN/SIGNIS) When North Korea celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the ruling party on Oct. 10, leader Kim Jong-un’s message was one of unity and strength. After a parade of missiles and goose-stepping troops, the young dictator said North Korea had become an "impenetrable fortress" ready for war with the United States in a speech replayed on state television and radio.

That evening, a Christian radio station broadcast one of the few messages contrary to that narrative. Based in Seoul, Free North Korea Radio talked about Hwang Jang-yop, a founder of the Korean Workers’ Party. It went on to explain how Hwang defected to South Korea in 1997 and converted to Christianity. "He came to recognize a greater power than the Kim regime," read the broadcaster, according to a transcript seen by ucanews.com. "He came to know God, the creator of all things." Christian radio stations based in South Korea have overcome a host of obstacles to broadcast their religious message across the demilitarized zone.

Propaganda war

An ideological war has been waged over North Korea’s airwaves since the peninsula divided at the end of the Korean War in 1953. A handful of state broadcasters pump out a steady diet of propaganda built around the Kim clan. In response, defectors have teamed up with stations in South Korea to broadcast information censored by the regime, including religious messages.

Far East Broadcasting Company, a station set up by American World War II veterans to evangelize in Asia, began transmitting the Gospel to North Korea in 1953. It was the only regular religious broadcaster into the communist state for more than half a century, until 2006, when two more American-led stations launched — Free North Korea Radio and Voice of the Martyrs Korea. Operated by Defense Forum Foundation, a U.S. nonprofit organization led by former servicemen and politicians, Free North Korea Radio produces secular news while offering slots to Christian sponsors.

JPEG - 22.2 kb
Pastor Eric Foley and Hyun Sook

Every Easter weekend it broadcasts a Catholic service, and a Catholic Mass is planned next month, Suzanne Scholte, the foundation’s president, said by email. Established by American Pastor Eric Foley and his Korean wife Hyun Sook, Voice of the Martyrs Korea broadcasts every day for 90 minutes, reaching every corner of North Korea. Its message is one of hope tinged with despair.

The station’s North and South Korean announcers copy a broadcasting style familiar to people north of the demilitarized zone, offering tips on how to be a Christian leader in a country where religion is banned. Programs aim to help the estimated 300,000 Christians secretly worshipping inside North Korea to understand the persecution they face. "North Korean Christians suffer more than you or I, yet they often don’t understand that suffering," says American Pastor Tim Dillmuth, a spokesman for Voice of the Martyrs Korea.

"A lot of Christians interpret that God is angry with them or they are not leading a good Christian life because of their suffering. So we try to offer them teaching to help them understand."

The regime has tried to block these pirate Christian broadcasters but it’s fighting a losing battle. All radio sets sold legally in North Korea must be tuned to government stations only and are fixed with a tamper-proof seal. However, with the collapse of the state economy in recent years and the influx of goods across the Chinese border, black-market sets are now common. Some groups in South Korea also fly radios, leaflets and DVDs over the demilitarized zone in air balloons. Surveys suggest there may be as many as 2 million shortwave radios in North Korea today.

Broadcasters like Voice of the Martyrs Korea use shortwave frequencies because these can travel further. But these frequencies are more prone to jamming. The regime typically uses a "jet plane noise" to block radio transmissions from the south, with mixed results. North Korea reportedly upgraded its radio broadcasting and jamming equipment in 2011 but chronic electricity shortages have undermined efforts in the past. Voice of the Martyrs Korea is able to switch frequencies and relocate antennas, says Dillmuth. "Probably one of the best testimonies to the effectiveness of our broadcasts is the amount of effort the government uses in blocking our broadcasts," he says.


Amid all the jamming and the counter broadcasts, one important question remains: are people actually listening? Voice of the Martyrs Korea includes testimony on its website from an anonymous defector who said she heard Christian broadcasts while inside North Korea. Dillmuth supplied two other witnesses, one of whom said she was in prison and overheard other people in her cell talk about hearing such programs.

Those claiming to have heard these broadcasts inside North Korea remain rare, says Jung Jin-Heon, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity. Author of the book "Migration and Religion in East Asia: North Korean Migrants’ Evangelical Encounters," Jung has interviewed dozens of defectors over the past 20 years and says question marks remain over the effectiveness of such broadcasting. "I found little impact of both secular and religious propaganda broadcasting to the North, on the people, in reality," he says.

Radio broadcasters that transmit into North Korea remain among the few media organizations in the world with little idea of their audience size. Their mission remains one of faith. Scholte of the Defense Forum Foundation did not respond to a request for an interview about Free North Korea Radio, but did say by email she felt the station was making an impact. "I absolutely believe there are underground believers, both Catholic and Protestant, but also that the church is growing in [North Korea] with the flow of information."


print the article