North Korea | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

North Korea

North Korea

Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status

Not Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


The government controls all media and information, and strictly curtails freedom of speech. Censorship is enforced, and the reporting on state-run media outlets does not deviate from the official line or cover sensitive topics. Ordinary North Koreans face a steady onslaught of propaganda from radios and televisions that are pre-tuned to receive only government stations. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the penal code cites listening to foreign broadcasts and possessing dissident publications as "crimes against the state," which are punishable by death. North Koreans have neither the right nor the means to access the Internet. Although more foreign journalists have been allowed into the country in the past two years, their movements within the country remain closely monitored and highly restricted.