(Note: This message was written before the death of North Korean General Secretary Kim Jong-il.) 

Message from Gu Gwang-ho, Reporter [Rimjin-gang]

I've been told that this summer, footage that I took of soldiers suffering from malnutrition was transmitted all over the world. When I met the Rimjin-gang Editing Team in China, they showed me an example --- broadcast as the top TV news on South Korea's KBS, the Korea Broadcasting System. I hear that the news was given a lot of coverage in several countries, which means perhaps the presidents in South Korea or the United States saw my footage, or even Kim Jong-il. Just thinking about that makes me realize that I truly am a reporter, and it brings me joy.

Reporter Gu Gwang-ho (right) explaining the footage he has taken to editor ISHIMARU Jiro(left) (October 2011, in northeast China)
Reporter Gu Gwang-ho (right) explaining the footage he has taken to editor ISHIMARU Jiro(left) (October 2011, in northeast China)


An army that cannot feed its soldiers, that makes them suffer from malnutrition, is the same as a concentration camp. Even soldiers have rights as human beings. I think I was able to present to the world, to a large number of people, that this is reality in North Korea.
And it's not just the soldiers. In North Korea, a lot of people are suffering from poverty. They are strongly dissatisfied, but they do not have leeway to pay attention to politics. What can you do when you have an empty stomach? Even so, everyone is now aware that "Those in power in North Korea are robbing the people, oppressing and controlling them, and that's why the people are suffering from poverty."

In history class in North Korea's schools, students are taught that a long time ago, feudal rulers mistreated the people, exploiting and seizing from them. They are taught that kings in the past were wicked and corrupt. But today's politics may be worse than back in the feudal ages. We are already in the 21st century, and yet the current regime is trying to keep political power within the family, into the third generation. This absurd situation will certainly be recorded in one of the pages of history. And those in power will be forced to stand in court to face judgment.

The people of North Korea cannot see, nor can they hear. They do not really know what is going on in the rest of the world, or how it functions. I hope that many people all over the world can offer their cooperation so North Korea can head towards reform and liberalization. And for this to happen, North Korean reporters like myself need to report to the world on what is going on in my country. If my reporting activities are discovered, then the administration will treat me as a spy. But even if I am caught, what is the crime that I have committed? All I am doing is reporting facts just as they are.

A reporter's work is by no means something bad or illegal. I will hold true, firmly believing that this is the right way, and continue to report until the moment I die.

Gu Gwang-ho, in China
October 2011

Gu Gwang-ho is in his thirties and lives in Pyongyang. He started his journalistic activities in 2011 after receiving a reporting training several times as by ASIAPRESS North Korea Reporting Team. He has made several undercover reports successfully in Pyongyang and South Pyongan Province. His remarkable video report on the starving People's Army soldier in 2011 was aired on many TV stations over the world.

Rimjin-gang (English Edition First Issue) RELEASE NOTE
Editor's notes on North Korean reporters

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