[KS] BBC journalists pose as LSE university students in North Korea

Ruediger Frank ruediger.frank at univie.ac.at
Mon Apr 15 02:19:50 EDT 2013

Dear all,
I find this behavior highly unethical and irresponsible, for a number of reasons. 
In addition to the many points made already, let's not be too self-centered. The feelings of LSE students and potential aid workers are important, but one affected group we have ignored so far. There were North Koreans responsible for that trip: folks from KNTO (the tourism organization) and others. They will now, away from the public eye and not protected by a Western passport, face allegations of not having done their job properly. I have always been deeply annoyed by the fact that such allegedly "heroic" behavior by Westerners - seriosly, what can happen to us in the worst case? - is taking place at the expense of those nameless people who are left behind in NK and who will have to bear all the wrath of the regime. We talk about human rights in NK and so on in our Sunday speeches, but in fact we don't give a bloody damn about the people there. This is disgusting.
Besides, the NK state has also been lied to. Such behavior enforces stereotypes about Westerners who cannot be trusted. Not that anyone would care, but I wanted to at least mention that.
Great, good job. And all that for stuff (I suppose) that I and 1000 others have filmed again and again before? Wow.
I have decided not to give any interviews to BBC anymore. Well, they'll survive. 
Prof. Rudiger Frank, Vienna
PS: I forgot the tour operator, most likely Koryo tours. Their business is not going to get easier. But why should the BBC care? It's in the holy name of truth (about others), isn't it. Collateral damage, so what.

on Sonntag, 14. April 2013 at 22:15 you wrote:

I trust that some list members have heard of the lead news story today on the BBC, about three BBC journalists who accompanied students from the LSE – under the disguise of themselves claiming to be students. A BBC spokesman has claimed that to film the documentary (due to be broadcast tomorrow), it was worthwhile putting students at risk (Can this be right? – it was what their spokesman said on Radio 4 this afternoon). 

See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22144667.

I would be interested in colleagues' reactions. 

Prof. Keith Howard
SOAS, University of London
Thornhaugh Street, London WC1H 0XG, UK
kh at soas.ac.uk; 0207 8984687; 07805 048801

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