Asian Hard Lock-Down

By | June 21, 2008

North Korea is Paranoid about the information its people obtain from “non-approved” sources. It’s one of the few truly closed societies left on the planet, along with Burma. All the rest have slowly faded away, their once impenetrable borders breached by the long-suppressed urge for free speech and freedom of information. The Internet has been part of the reason for this, but mainly it has been the result of years of restrictions and the spirit of the oppressed peoples. The fall of the Berlin wall was a physical expression of the change that flowed across Europe as the Soviet influence dwindled. Sadly some parts of Asia are still waiting for the intellectual and artistic freedom the eastern half of Europe now enjoys.

This isn’t a political diatribe, it’s about an old newspaper article I came across recently, about how every type of media in North Korea has to be state approved. A standard Marxist/Stalinist approach designed to ensure that “dangerous” influences, such as ideas about personal freedom and justice, don’t get talked about openly.

Porn of course is not immune from these restrictions. Not that this stops the North Koreans from seeing it, if they have the inclination. Tens of thousands of copied videos are circulating in the country containing pornographic films.

In a society hungry for external sources of media rather than the strictly controlled and monothematic communist output sponsored by the state it’s no wonder that all types of video (including porn) from outside the country is warmly received by North Korean citizens brave enough to risk the severe penalties if they are caught in possession of it.

It also means that all the porn in circulation is unregulated and un-rated. And that is dangerous. While I’m all for people to be able to view porn if they are 18 or over I’m also a believer in sensible regulation. North Koreans could be seeing movies that are exploitative of the performers in them, or worse. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

I mean our government could be that stupid could they? Make porn illegal or restrict it so much that anything harder than a Carry On movie ends up being illegal and therefore gets forced underground? An unregulated porn industry is potentially dangerous to the performers just as it was in the bad old days.

But not to worry. That only happens in states where the head of the government is un-elected, doesn’t it?