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Website in S. Korea airing NK TV programs in real time

Posted December. 13, 2011 02:57,   


A website in South Korea enabling the viewing of broadcast programs aired by North Korea in real time every afternoon has been confirmed to have operated for a sixth year.

North Korea Tech, an industrial and technology assessment site on the North, introduced Friday “Tongil (Unification) Broadcasting (www.sptv.co.kr),” saying, "The website offers broadcast programs aired by the North in real time.”

The site is based in Seoul`s Seocho district and operates the server in South Korea. The site allows visitors to view programs in real time of the North’s Korea Central TV Station, which starts test airing from 4:30 p.m. daily, shows regular programming at 5 p.m., and continues broadcasting through 10:30 p.m. In the afternoon of the next day, the site offers reruns of recorded shows from the previous day until the North Korean broadcaster resumes airing.

A visitor saw a rerun of the station’s programs aired last week by clicking the titles at the website on Monday. The site offers news, a statement by North Korea`s foreign minister rejecting the international demand for suspension of its nuclear program, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s viewing of an art festival with works by military personnel, and the documentary film “Female General on Mount Baekdu” on Kim’s mother Jong Sook. Also featured are children’s shows such as “The Fox Contained in a Jar.”

Programs of the North`s Korea Central TV Station are aired in Asia via the satellite Thai Com 5, but viewers in South Korea cannot watch them on ordinary TV sets due to South Korean authorities’ blocking frequency waves. Tongil Broadcasting, however, is reportedly receiving satellite signals transmitted from the North and retransmits them via the website.

Tongil Broadcasting chief Lim Yeong-seon told The Dong-A Ilbo over the phone, “I`ve been running the site for six years because I thought South and North Korea know too little about each other,” adding, “I felt pity for the Republic of Korea, which is divided between pro-North Korea people and those who seek to crack down on communists."

A former North Korean defector who arrived in Seoul in 1994, Lim said, “I know that the airing could potentially violate the National Security Law, but it has more positive effects than negative since people who laud North Korea change their stance after watching Tongil Broadcasting.”

“In the early days of broadcasting, Pyongyang’s representative threatened me over payment of royalties for airing, but I`ve aired the programs in real time nonetheless.”

A South Korean government official said, “South Koreans can freely watch North Korean broadcast programs, but retransmitting them could potentially constitute violation of the National Security Law.”

The National Intelligence Service of South Korea reviewed whether the site is pro-North Korea in nature but has declined to make a decision, and is merely keeping watch on it.