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Freedom Collection

Interviews with Kim Seong Min

Interviewed June 23, 2024

The Free North Korea Radio station was founded on April 22, 2004 in Seoul. We started with thirty minutes of broadcasting over the Internet. The reason why we started this broadcasting was because the South Korean government colluded with the Kim Jong Il [Kim Jong Il was the dictator of North Korea from 1994 until his death in 2011.] regime so that they would start mutual propaganda. And South Korea suspended all of its broadcasting towards North Korea and North Korea did the same. [Mr. Kim refers to an era of détente between North and South Korea known as the “Sunshine Policy,” which lasted from 1998 until 2008.]

The North Korean people only receive news and information from the outside world through radio broadcasting and leaflets. Since this form of propaganda was suspended we all thought that we had to do something and that’s how we started our movement. For six years our broadcasting has been airing everyday for five hours on shortwave. The North Korean defectors as well as the younger generation in South Korea are cooperating together to run this program. Funding is the most important factor of our movement and it comes from the US Department of State.

At first when we decided to launch the radio broadcasting only a few of North Korean defectors helped us in order to continue what the South Korean government had abandoned. Initially the South Korean government gave us a lot of pressure and there were pro-North Korea groups in South Korea that tried to stop us. They had done so by protesting in front of our locations in order for us to cease our radio broadcasting. At first we moved about six times to different locations. We used to receive more than one hundred threat mails every day and we later found out that it was the spies from North Korea who would send them to us.

We received packages that had gory things such as blood and axes, even to this day. The Chinese government closed down our website in their territory and the Russian government had to rescind the contract that they had with us. There were also hackers on our website so of course we were very intimidated. But we had other concerns such as our personal safety. We would all carry taser guns at some point and other self-protective equipment. But we all felt that we had to continue doing this and it was our mission to continue. Right now, at this moment, there are about 40 policemen protecting me and as I speak there are two policemen who are waiting for me.