The changed, the unchanged, and the implications: A historical examination of mass media in North Korea since 1945
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Communism has had a great impact on world history in regards to political science and international relations, economic trends, culture and the mass media. After the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the inauguration of the post-communist period, many social scientists have become interested in the transformations brought about by the sweeping regime changes around the world. The study of the transformation of mass media in postcommunist countries has been a significant part of recent international communications research. From this standpoint, North Korea is one of the last remaining communist countries, and therefore provides us with an interesting topic for studying international mass communications. In essence, this research addresses the main characteristics of North Korean mass media in four parts: (1) mass media's main functions, (2) the organization and structure of the North Korean media system, (3) the main contents and program of the North Korean media, and (4) North Korean media law and policy. By investigating the mass media situation from the past to present, four factors can be summarized. First, the North Korean media have mainly served as the propaganda tool of the Communist Party and the government. Second, the Party controls the media by restricting all mass media to state-own apparatuses. Third, the media serves not as a watchdog of the government, but more as a conveyor of government policies and directives. Fourth, the absence of media laws means that there is virtually no freedom of the press, nor public freedom of expression. In sum, the mass media in North Korea is a mouthpiece "of the Party, by the Party and for the Party." The mass media plays a main role as a propaganda machine under the communist model and the Juche-Ideology. Today, the government has expanded the media's propaganda function through the use of the Internet.