WYSO

In Rare Move, North Korea Allows New AP Bureau

Originally published on July 3, 2011 9:55 am
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SUSAN STAMBERG, Host:

Here to talk about this new venture, NPR's media correspondent David Folkenflik. Hi.

DAVID FOLKENFLIK: Hey, Susan.

STAMBERG: I understand there's been an AP video service there for several years now, maybe five. But what's different about this new arrangement?

FOLKENFLIK: Well, you're going to have a reporter and a photographer based there. The video service would capture things like diplomats coming into the country from Western countries, perhaps unpublicized in the West. They were able to show evidence of that when whisked there by some of their North Korean minders. But in this case, you're going to see a bigger output, perhaps a better reflection of what windows they can offer on the hermit kingdom - as it's called.

STAMBERG: And why would North Korea, why would the government say yes to this right now?

FOLKENFLIK: ..TEXT: STAMBERG: Well, as we've said, it's a very repressive government. So what, for foreign journalists who've been there in the past, what kind of stories have they been able to do?

FOLKENFLIK: You're also going to be able to capture official North Korean pronouncements every now and then. They denounced the U.S. They'll inveigh against the South Koreans for some perceived slight. They'll be able to reflect that with the official speaking in their own words.

STAMBERG: Although access will remain limited.

FOLKENFLIK: The question is what kinds of glimpses that the reporters will be able to elicit somehow, to show the deprivation that's occurring; to show what's really happening there.

STAMBERG: That'll be the trick, won't it?

FOLKENFLIK: And the question is, you know, what happens if things break down? What happens if the South Koreans get certain kind of influence? The AP would want to be on hand for that kind of transition, just as Western news organizations sought to be in Havana as they saw Fidel Castro weakening in Cuba.

STAMBERG: NPR's David Folkenflik speaking with us from New York. Thank you.

FOLKENFLIK: You bet. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.