On Monday, three BBC journalists were banned from North Korea for ‘insulting’ the country and ‘distorting facts’ in their coverage of the DPRK.
As with most of the DPRK’s punishments, the penalty was pretty extreme. The reporter, Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, was detained at the airport and subjected to eight hours of questioning and made to sign a statement. Consequently, all three journalists were expelled and banned from North Korea.
According to the BBC, the team were there to cover North Korea’s first Workers’ Party Congress in 36 years.
During the congress, Kim Jong Un outlined his plans to strengthen the country’s nuclear capabilities (in defiance of the United Nation’s regulations) — but it was also an opportunity for the world’s media to see inside the isolated nation, Business Insider reports.
A number of western media outlets, including CNN, Sky News, and the BBC, were granted visas to cover the congress.
And while the footage that emerged from the BBC’s time in the country is notably more intrusive than material from other outlets, it’s hard to see the footage as offensive.
Hayes can be seen asking young Koreans at Kim Il Sung University why the DPRK needs nuclear weapons, to which the student tells Hayes that the United States and South Korea are “trying to kill us… We must protect ourselves.”
But I guess we can understand why North Korea doesn’t want anyone else knowing that.
Later in the report, the journalists are scolded for filming a piece-to-camera in front of a statue of Kim Il Sung and accused of being disrespectful to the former leader. The team is then ushered into a room where they are told they will not be allowed to leave the university’s campus unless they delete the offending footage.
Considering North Korea has become very well known for remaining tight-lipped on its domestic affairs (like mass famine), you can understand why they interrupted the team’s filming.
But surely a ban from the country is a tad extreme, considering they were reporting on what they were invited to report on.
Here’s the full footage that got them banned from the DRPK: