As most people are aware, the Internet has provided us with an invaluable tool that many of us use daily for business and personal purposes. People in countries around the world rely on the internet to provide them with information, services, entertainment, communication tools, business tools and more. However, the quality and value of the internet varies from one country to another. Up until the latter part of 2016, it was thought that North Korea’s emerging internet service was gaining strength with thousands of websites for people to access. However, last year the government accidentally gave people outside of North Korea access to their internet service. While the accidental access was only brief it provided enough time for those outside the country to realize just what the North Korean Internet really looks like.
Limited number of websites
Despite the fact that it was thought there were in excess of 5,000 websites on the North Korean web, this accidental access revealed that this was not the case at all. In fact, according to reports there were only 28 websites available in total, which indicated that the North Korean internet, which is controlled by the government, is a lot smaller than most had envisaged.
The limited number of websites on the North Korean internet means that it provides little value to residents in the country. In countries such as the UK, USA, and Australia, as well as many other countries around the world, we are able to access an endless stream of websites covering pretty much anything you can think of. However, in North Korea users only have a handful of websites that can be accessed, including a sports websites and an insurance agency website.
Which websites can you find on the North Korean Internet?
As mentioned earlier, there are a handful of websites that can be accessed via the North Korean Internet. The websites that are up and available include:
- Travel: The Air Koryo website is one of the sites available on the North Korean internet. This is the site for the country’s main carrier, which provides domestic flights and international flights to a number of other destinations. A second travel related site available is the Korean International Youth and Children’s Travel Company, which it is thought may be targeted towards foreign visitors. The Korean Tourism Board website is an additional travel related website that is available.
- Recipes: Another site on the North Korean internet is run by the Korean Association of Cooks. This provides Korean dish recipes and restaurant reviews.
- Cultural events: The website Friend is also available online in North Korea. This is a site for the Cultural Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries. This is an organization that arranges cultural events with other countries and also provides access to information, news and resources about these events.
- Pyongyang Broadcasting Agency: This agency also has a site up on the internet, which is called Great National Unity. This site is in Korean and aimed at residents of South Korea as well as China and Japan.
- Education: There is also a website for the Korean Association of Social Scientists, which is believed to be an educational resource. Another education site that is available is the Korea Education Fund, which is a non-government agency. You will also find the site of Kim Il Sung University on the line, and this was the first university to be built in the country.
- News: Another site is for the key news portal in North Korea, which is the Korean Central News Agency.
- Insurance: You can also access an insurance company website on the North Korean internet. The site is The Korean National Insurance Corporation, which is an insurance agency that is run by the state.
- Care: The North Korean internet also has access to a site that deals with care for the elderly. This is called the Korean Elderly Care Fund and is a non-government agency.
- Film: A site relating to the North Korean film industry can be accessed online in North Korea. This site is the KorFilm website, which is the official site for the Pyongyang International Film Festival as well as for the country’s film industry.
- Government: The official government website for North Korea is one of the handful of sites on the North Korean internet. This site is Naenara, which translates to ‘my country’. This site contains government information, news, resources, and music.
- Politics: One of the sites available on the internet in North Korea is Rodong Sinmun, which is the official sites for North Korea’s only political party, the Workers’ Party of Korea.
- Sports: Access to sports news can also be gained on the North Korean internet via the Sports Chosun website. Another sports related website that is available is called Faster Korea, which provides details relating to international sports.
- Broadcasting: The website for the country’s shortwave broadcaster, Voice of Korea, was also found to be amongst the list of sites available on the North Korean internet.
Access to the Internet in North Korea
When it comes to accessing the internet, only a few thousand people in the county actually have access. The government restricts internet access to its citizens and it is accessed through an intranet facility known as Kwangmyong. Although it can be accessed free of charge for those that have a computer, the cost of buying a computer is too high for the average person. In addition, government permission has to be gained before you can purchase a computer. This means that only a limited number of citizens actually have the necessary equipment with which to go online.
Those that looked at the state of the North Korean internet when accidental access was granted also stated that many of the small number of websites that were available were not very sophisticated or modern. This all indicates that the internet has a long way to go in North Korea.