The Modern Tokyo Times

International news and neglected issues

North Korea: Associated Press news agency opens a bureau in Pyongyang

North Korea: Associated Press news agency opens a bureau in Pyongyang

Joachim de Villiers and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

North Korea gave the go ahead for the Associated Press news agency to open a small bureau in the capital Pyongyang on January 16, 2012. This is a very important scoop for this news agency because it is the first Western based agency to open up a bureau in North Korea. Therefore, irrespective of the size of the new office it is a positive start and much needed.

It is unsure if Kim Jong-un, the new leader of North Korea, rushed up the process or if he is firmly behind supporting the move. However, it would be welcome if he supported this because it would be a positive sign that the new leader is focused on opening-up North Korea in the field of economics and other important areas.

Other international agencies have a presence in Pyongyang, for example Xinhau from China, but like it was stated earlier the new Associated Press bureau is the first Western news agency. However, it is clear that this move will be welcomed by Xinhau and other agencies because it will enable more coverage to reach the international community. This fact must be welcomed by all individuals who are interested in “the real facts and stories” in North Korea because the vast majority of articles carry little substance and are biased to an extreme.

It is understood that the new bureau will be supervised from South Korea and will involve two journalists from North Korea who will be based in Pyongyang. Associated Press opened a video bureau in the capital of North Korea in 2006 and clearly this laid the foundation stone.

Bridges in many areas need to be built between North Korea and the international community and this is a positive step. Also, it will be interesting to follow the news coming out of North Korea and how it is reported. After all, this will provide details about the real substance of this new venture.

John Daniszewski from Associated Press commented that “For North Korea, which for decades has remained largely off-limits to international journalists, the opening marked an important gesture, particularly because North Korea and the United States have never had formal diplomatic relations. The AP, an independent 165-year-old news cooperative founded in New York and owned by its U.S. newspaper membership, has operations in more than 100 countries and employs nearly 2,500 journalists across the world in 300 locations.”

“The bureau puts AP in a position to document the people, places and politics of North Korea across all media platforms at a critical moment in its history, with Kim’s death and the ascension of his young son as the country’s new leader, Curley said in remarks prepared for the opening.”

This move by Associated Press is very positive because it provides “a bridge” to the international community. Also, this news agency is internationally famous and because of this the readership is vast throughout the world.

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