Sherman: Double Voice of America Broadcasting into North Korea
Washington DC - Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA), the second Ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee issued the following statement:
“Kim Jong-un has used vandalism and threats of violence to suppress speech in the United States. The North Korean government has prevented millions of Americans from seeing a particular movie, at least during December. Importantly, these threats are now causing movie and television producers to delay or abandon “sensitive” projects.
“It is time to give North Korea a double dose of free speech. Currently Radio Free Asia and Voice of America reach North Koreans eleven hours each night, at a cost to American taxpayers of $8 million annually (or roughly one tenth of what it cost Sony to make and advertise “The Interview”). We should ramp this up to $16 million.
“Dictators like Kim Jong-un fear nothing as much as the truth and it is time to bring a maximum supply of truth both to the North Korean people, and to the elites which form the core of the regime’s support.
“We also maintain websites aimed at North Korea, but we do not provide television broadcasts. Our web efforts should be aimed at undermining Kim Jong-un among these elites, who have internet access.
“The BBG Report on North Korea (issued December 8, 2014) shows that our current eleven hour per day stream of broadcasting to North Koreans falls a bit short of our own 12 hour per day goal. Though nighttime hours are more effective than daylight hours, we should be broadcasting 24 hours a day into North Korea. (The BBG, Broadcasting Board of Governors, is the US government agency which oversees the Voice of America and Radio Free Asia.)
“The Report also indicates that for medium wave (AM) we are dependent on leased transmission sites (usually leased from South Korean radio broadcasters). The Broadcasting Board of Governors is seeking to construct its own medium wave transmitter in South Korea at a location optimally suited to reach the North Korean people. This effort should be funded and expedited.
“We should explore using satellite television broadcasting. If television broadcasting into North Korea is practical, then later next year we should broadcast “The Interview” dubbed in Korean.”
Congressman Sherman also chairs the Entertainment Industry Caucus in the House of Representatives. He has also called for re-listing North Korea as a State Sponsor of Terrorism and he has asked Sony to provide a copy of “The Interview” for screening in the Capitol to Members of Congress. See Letter Here.
Attached is the Report of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (which oversees both Voice of America and Radio Free Asia) issued December 8, 2014, pursuant to the North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act.
Final Fact: Freedom House ranked North Korea dead last (out of 197 countries surveyed) for 11 years in a row in its annual Freedom of the Press Report.