The BBC has confirmed its intention to create a radio service for North Korea, although, despite a recent report, a start date for this service has not been set. North Korea’s recent test of what it described as a hydrogen bomb, and its launch of a long-range missile, have instilled urgency to the BBC’s plans.

Pyongyang Traffic, by Frühtau

The BBC is planning a radio service to N. Korea, and will have to navigate a landmine to do so.

While western media coverage of North Korea's Kim Jong-un is rightly critical, a recent video uploaded to YouTube is making people question the treatment of our own unelected head of state. [...] While it does not exactly offer the perfect comparison in terms of the two regimes, it does arguably highlight an uncomfortable truth about idolisation.


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From the World Service to the Queen and even Norman Wisdom, Britain punches above its weight in the soft power stakes. [...] But the global soft-power reach of the UK is a phenomenon all on its own.

The Government has acknowledged the importance of “soft power” in global politics with an unprecedented £85m investment in the BBC World Service to support initiatives in Russia, North Korea, the Middle East and Africa. Lord Hall, the BBC Director-General, welcomed what he described as “the single biggest increase in the World Service budget ever committed by any government.”

Worried about the increased power and reach of state-owned broadcasters such as the Kremlin-backed Russia Today, it appears the BBC hopes to stem the trend of endless rounds of funding cuts by seeking government money to create a new channel to broadcast into Russia. It's also proposing services aimed at reaching North Korea and to increase its penetration of the Arab world.