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North Korea: Witness to Transformation

Televised Sex and Violence: Now Playing on a Smuggled DVD Near You!

by | July 20th, 2013 | 07:00 am
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Even with a media control apparatus that would be a protective parent’s dream, it appears that North Korea is not immune from the chaos-inducing effects of violence and sex on TV.  Is life in a militarized state and a constantly bellicose DPRK-sanctioned media to blame?  Of course not.  The culprit: the insidious diffusion of contraband Chinese and South Korean TV shows.

Take this story of drunken 5th graders who stabbed a discharged soldier in Hysesan. Never mind that these teens were “extremely drunk”, this brazen act has been attributed to the influence of violent Chinese revenge dramas. The culprits were carrying knives around because, apparently, they saw Chinese characters doing it on TV.  Even more damning evidence: according to one witness, “at the time of the murder he looked like he was acting out one of the scenes.”

Reportedly, this is one of a growing number of incidents involving youth violence and sexual indiscretions inspired by smuggled foreign movies and TV shows that have left “people scared to go out in the evening.”

As in the United States, this North Korean narrative of violent/sexual media causing criminal behavior has a clear connection to politics – though for decidedly different reasons.  Banned videos from South Korea, the West, and now China have become a painful thorn in the side of DPRK authorities.  Easy access on the black market and relative leniency if caught have led more and more households to see the gaping maw between their living standards and those of even their counterparts below the 38th parallel.

For obvious reasons, the inexorable intrusion of the outside world by means of thumb-drive and DVD is potentially damaging to the regime. The narrative of the chaotic effects of immoral foreign values on impressionable youth is an excellent angle by which to wage war against foreign media that every concerned parent can get behind.  (While they’re at it, authorities might want to get on that 5th grader drunkenness thing too…)

On a related note, the danger of sex and violins: http://www.hulu.com/#!watch/2364