Human rights activists are coming up with efforts to take out the regime via sitcoms and pop music on thumb drives that they get into North Korea in increasingly creative ways.
Thor Halvorssen, president of Human Rights Foundation, an organization funding the efforts to smuggle foreign media into the country says “ The most effective way is to have the regime crumble from the inside. And the way to do that is by flooding the country with foreign media and educational material that is going to turn the tide against this fake propaganda.”
Activists in South Korea began smuggling old flash drives loaded with media from the outside world into North Korea in 2015. In 2016, they delivered 10,000 drives. Now, after a new donation of 100,000 new flash drives, the Flash Drives for Freedom campaign plans to infiltrate deeper into the country.
The drives are loaded with K-pop music, action movies, documentaries, travel photographs, a Korean copy of Wikipedia that can be read without internet access, and as much other content as can fit on the drive. Technology is making it easier to get drives across the border. The drives were originally smuggled by foot and exchanged across a river on the border with China while guards were bribed. Now, in addition to that process, some are attached to balloons and floated over the border. A group called No Chain,( partners with the Human Rights Foundation), is increasingly relying on drones to make deliveries.
When they arrive in North Korea the content is often copied and sold. Instead of using computers, North Koreans typically plug the drives into cheap portable media players from China that can run on batteries. “Every North Korean is one degree removed from someone with one.
[Photo: Human Rights Foundation]
The activists are looking for more donations of drives