North Korea | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

North Korea

North Korea

Freedom of the Press 2004

2004 Scores

Press Status

Not Free

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


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


North Korea's totalitarian government maintains strict control over all media and information. Although the constitution technically provides for freedom of speech, this right is severely restricted in practice. All media outlets are under direct state control, serve as propaganda outlets for the regime, and operate under strict rules of censorship. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, ruler Kim Jong Il closely supervises the media, issuing monthly guidelines on acceptable topics for coverage and directing writers on how extensively they should criticize foreign governments. Citizens face a steady onslaught of pro-government news from radios and television sets that are pre-tuned to receive only domestic stations. Those caught listening to foreign broadcasts face imprisonment or death. Ordinary North Koreans have neither the right nor the means to access the Internet. Very few foreign journalists are allowed into the country, and those who are able to report from North Korea are closely monitored and heavily restricted.