February 21, 2024

North Koreans’ consumption of foreign media grows over last decade: Survey

Government poll of over 6,000 defectors also revealed increasing dissatisfaction with Kim Jong Un

North Koreans’ consumption of foreign media grew in the years immediately before the COVID pandemic, a previously classified survey of DPRK escapees shows, a development that one expert said may have gone into reverse due to a nationwide crackdown on culture imports. 

The unification ministry asked 4,790 defectors about their media consumption habits while in North Korea. More than 83% of escapees who left the DPRK between 2016 and 2020 said they consumed foreign media, such as music and TV shows, up from 67.6% of respondents who left between 2006 and 2010.