Report: NKorea Executed 22-Year-Old For Disseminating K-pop

Report: NKorea Executed 22-Year-Old For Disseminating K-pop
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The Facts

  • According to South Korea's newly released 2024 Report on North Korean Human Rights, Pyongyang has publicly executed a 22-year-old man for consuming and sharing 70 K-pop songs and three South Korean films.

  • This comes as one of the 649 North Korean defectors who testified for the report recounted witnessing the execution of a young man from South Hwanghae province in 2022.


The Spin

Pro-establishment narrative

South Korean pop culture threatens the Northern regime's control and ideology. The vibrant fashion, music, and slang represent a stark contrast to a strict, state-controlled culture. Pyongyang fears that exposure to an affluent and free lifestyle could inspire discontent and admiration among its citizens, undermining the regime's authority. With the North in dire economic straits, any foreign influence could erode the regime's legitimacy and ideological grip on its people.

Establishment-critical narrative

There's no evidence that Pyongyang carried out the execution of the young man, as the South claims. What is known for sure is that South Korean pop culture has troublesome issues beneath its glamorous surface. For instance, the K-pop industry is riddled with mistreatment, exploitation, and abuse, including slave-like contracts and sexual harassment. When North Korea fights against the dissemination of such content, it's also taking a stance against all these problems.


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