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Foreign Media Target S. Korean Reporters in S. Africa

Posted June. 10, 2010 14:01,   


More than 100 journalists from South Korea and elsewhere waited to see the North Korean soccer team’s open practice an hour before it started.

The reporters were from more than 20 countries, including the U.S., the U.K., China, Israel, Poland, Sweden and Argentina, as well as from Brazil, Portugal and Côte d´Ivoire in Group G, teams which North Korea will play.

When South Korean media appeared at the training site, foreign journalists started to pay attention. When South Korean reporters were asked if they were from North Korea, they answered that they were from the South.

Then the foreign reporters wondered where the North Korean journalists were. The North applied for media passes from FIFA, but its reporters were nowhere to be found either at the stadium or media center.

Instead of going back to work, the foreign reporters unleashed a flood of questions on South Korean reporters, whom they believed would know a little about the North Korean team. The foreign media corps appeared curious to know everything about Team North Korea.

John Weber of AFP asked why the North Korean team is so reclusive, while a Swedish TV reporter inquired, “We understand that the South Korean people are rooting for the North Korean team. Why would they cheer for an enemy nation?”

Another reporter asked, “Do South Koreans use the same language as North Koreans?”

Most of the questions were about the World Cup, but others were on political issues surrounding the two Koreas. South Korean reporters declined comment.

Instead of covering the North’s practice, South Korean reporters became the subject of coverage by foreign reporters.

North Korean star striker Jong Tae Se, the only player from the communist country to take questions, said, “We want to change our country’s image.” His efforts seem to target a goal beyond reach, however.