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Freedom Collection

Interviews with Kim Seong Min

Interviewed June 23, 2024

Free North Korea Radio started in April 2004, but in [2004], North and South Korean authorities agreed to end [government] cross border broadcasts. Defectors like me knew the importance of broadcasting better than the South Korean government. I believe in the use of shortwave radio to deliver news to North Korea. So, we agreed to start this radio program, because the government proclaimed they would no longer allow [government] broadcasting.

I was selected to spearhead this effort because I had appeared on programs like KBS [Korean Broadcasting System] and NBC of Korea for two years so people thought I was the right person. But again, it was an agreement and decision reached by many defectors.

We faced many challenges and difficulties but I always felt that we were really speaking for the North Korean community since we were defectors and North Korean ourselves. We would always think about what the North Korean audience would want to hear from us, and what would really spark their interest.

April 20, 2014 marks the 10th anniversary of Free North Korea Radio. I am most proud of how we have overcome the various challenges we have faced. The main threats came from the North Korean regime. Over 100 times the North Korean authorities publicly proclaimed that they would destroy Free North Korea Radio. This was featured on North Korea’s Nodong daily newspaper.

They refer to us as the “puppet of the United States” and even accuse us of having the South Korean Saenuri Party write our scripts which is not true at all. Primarily, they demanded we stop broadcasting.

[The Saenuri Party is a South Korean political party. In the April 2012 elections, Saenuri won a majority of seats in South Korea’s parliament and became the country’s ruling party.]

Some North Koreans who cross the border to South Korea will actually come to us and share that they listened to us and wanted to work for us. Because the program’s reach is North Korea, [a closed society], it is difficult to say how much of the population is part of our audience. But I have always felt their presence and so I’m still very determined to carry on this work.