Thursday, July 29, 2010

New web broadcast for North Korean defectors to begin in August

29th July 2010
The first Internet radio broadcasting tailored specifically to help North Korean defectors live more comfortably in the South will begin next month, a defectors' advocacy group said Wednesday.

The Seoul-based Hana Culture, which represents the interests of the defectors, said the Internet radio service, tentatively titled "Tongil(unification) Hanmadang," will begin airing on Aug. 15.

Lee Geum-ryong, an official at Hana Culture, said the broadcasting will be "free of political intonation."

"We simply want to help defectors settle down here," Lee said. "We want to help them overcome loneliness and homesickness that they may feel while trying to get adjusted to the new surroundings."

Free North Korea Radio, a Seoul-based station run by a North Korean defector, recently took over Hana Culture and will be managing the Internet broadcasting.

The broadcast will be aired twice a day, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., and can be heard live on Hana Culture's Web site at or accessed in the site's archives.

One of the service's main features will be advertising employment opportunities here, a major concern for defectors trying to settle in the South.

A government report in 2009 showed that only about four out of 10 defectors were employed. Another survey last year said North Korean defectors were about three times more likely to be unemployed than South Koreans.

This March, the labor ministry pledged to increase financial aid for defectors who find a job and stay employed for at least 30 days after completing the state-run job training program.

The broadcasts will also teach defectors about the differences in language and cultures between the two countries, and provide the latest news from north of the border, the group added.

Nearly 20,000 North Koreans have arrived in the South since the 1950-1953 Korean War ended, according to the Unification Ministry.
(Source: GNA/ via Yimber Gaviria, Colombia/playdx2003)