The Opening of AP Bureau in Pyongyang Could Be a First Step Toward a More Independent Media


The Associated Press news agency has formally opened a news bureau in Pyongyang, and was the first major Western news organisation to do so.

Associated Press President Tom Curley, right, shakes hands with Korean Central News Agency President Kim Pyong Ho after signing an agreement to open a new AP office in Pyongyang, North Korea on Monday Jan. 16, 2012. The AP opened its newest bureau in North Korea, making it the first international news organization with a full time presence to cover news from North Korea in words, pictures, and video.

Given North Korea's international status and political ideology, the idea of a balanced media that represents a fair and representative voice may seem improbable. Yet the demise of the despotic North Korean leader Kim Jong-il could be a turning point for the country's future.

This is because all media outlets in the country are owned by the state, and most citizens have no access to the internet due to lack in infrastructure. Therefore the news source from which people absorb their information will be controlled by the state. The presence of AP in N. Korea could be a pioneering front in which foreign news make it into the N. Korean mainstream.