Friday, September 29, 2006

US allocates funds for additional broadcast to North Korea

The US State Department has allocated $1 million to fund radio broadcasting business for North Korea led by three organizations for North Korean human rights in South Korea for the first year of business. A source in Washington yesterday said, “$1 million of US State Department budget was approved by the Congress and recently offered to the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and the fund will be given to three organizations each in the fiscal year 2007, starting on October 1.”
The three groups are Open Radio for North Korea, Freedom North Korea Broadcast and another North Korean human rights advocacy group. The third group requested its real name not be released. The money was found to be a separate funding from the budget to increase the airtime for radio broadcasting toward North Korea passed by the US Congress in 2004.
The US government is expected to finance the radio business for fiscal year 2008 after reviewing the previous year’s business outcome. The three groups funded by the US are set apart from other broadcasting outlets for North Korea in that they are run by small group of people and seek to differentiate content. These groups were assigned a radio frequency from a third country as the South Korean government denied them license to air to North Korea.
A survey of 303 North Korean defectors found that 4.0 percent of those surveyed listened to Korean broadcasts through shortwave radio. Assuming that 0.5 to 1 percent of the North’s population listens to Korean programmes, this means an audience of about 100,000 to 200,000.
(Source: Netherlands Media Network weblog)