The NK News has published an article about North Korea’s “Third Network”: the infamous cable network radio installed in many homes and that, some report, cannot be turned off.
This article tries to separate fact from fiction and turns to SWLing Post friend, Mark Fahey, among other North Korea experts:
The North Korean radio you can never turn off: fact or fiction?
Rumors have persisted for years, but how true they are remains up for debate
Eric Lafforgue discovered the radio in September 2011, on the wall of a farmhouse north of Hamhung.
Although small and austere, with just a speaker and a turquoise dial for volume control, the device stood out for two reasons: firstly, it looked cemented to the wall and secondly, his guide told him that “people cannot turn off the system.”
The French photographer would later post an image of the device on Flickr, where it remains one of the few pieces of photographic evidence of a uniquely North Korean twist on public address systems typical to the region.
Instead of issuing intermittent earthquake and tsunami warnings, however, this network is alleged to broadcast regime propaganda into citizen’s homes day and night without respite.
In some ways, the existence of this type of radio would be in keeping with what we know about the North Korean media landscape.
All television, radio and internet content is strictly censored by the state and suffused with propaganda glorifying the exploits of the state and its economic successes.
And a walk down the streets of any North Korean city will inevitably bring you into contact with a wide variety of posters exhorting greater personal sacrifice for the regime, praising its achievements or damning its enemies.
These are vivid displays often accompanied by motivational music and state announcements pumped daily into streets through public loudspeakers.
Even so, while these manifestations of North Korean propaganda are well-known to even casual observers of the country, visual evidence for the radio system described by Lafforgue remains scant.
In all his own trips to the DPRK, Mark Fahey has never seen any such device in person, and not for any lack of trying.
“I’ve been looking in every single room, in every single building I’ve been in,” Fahey, an expert on North Korean propaganda, tells NK News.
Others have been luckier. During filming for the documentary “A State of Mind” in 2004, footage was captured of a device similar to Lafforgue’s on the wall of a Pyongyang apartment.
“State radio is piped to every kitchen in the block,” a voiceover explains. “Listeners can turn the volume down, but not off.”[…]