RFA in the News (September 2016)

2016-10-14

DIPLOMAT

Sept. 30 “The US State Department’s New Plan to Flood North Korea With Information

… So far, American public diplomacy efforts directed at the North Korean people have remained almost entirely focused on radio broadcasting. Voice of America and Radio Free Asia have Korean-language services that send short or medium wave signals into North Korea with news and analysis.

CHOSUN ILBO

Sept. 30 “N.Korean Official Hurries to China After U.S. Sanctions Firm

… In an interview with Radio Free Asia, attorney Joshua Stanton, who worked with the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Foreign Affairs, said some of Hongxiang's bank accounts in the U.S. that have been seized contained "millions of dollars," which means Pyongyang stands to lose a lot of money.

DIPLOMAT

Sept. 28 “Laos: Reform or Revolution

… However, then came the disappearance of civil society leader Sombath Somphone in December 2012 (more on that later) and, as the air began to feel more chilling, Ounkeo decided to leave Laos for his own safety. He eventually found his way to the United States, where he now works as a journalist for Radio Free Asia. Speaking to me this week, he said he thought a democracy movement was beginning in Laos. “It is from the urban middle class who can get access to information and social media. The indicator is that they reflect their perceptions and opinions on Facebook,” he suggested.

DAILY NK

Sept. 28 “Foreign radio broadcast listenership growing among North Koreans

… The North Korean regime continues to use radio-jamming equipment to prevent its population from listening to outside broadcasts. Larger broadcasters that use medium wave frequencies such as the South’s KBS "One People Radio," together with the USA’s Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Voice of America (VOA) are able to send in stronger signals with better quality audio.

WASHINGTON POST

Sept. 27 “EDITORIAL: In China, repression buries rule of law

… Another prominent lawyer, Wang Yu, had been held for more than a year on subversion charges and remains under tight surveillance similar to house arrest, according to Radio Free Asia.

PHNOM PENH POST

Sept. 26 “Dredging figures do not add up

… This shortfall, totalling hundreds of millions of dollars and first reported by Radio Free Asia, most likely points to corruption, observers said.

YONHAP (Also in KBS)

Sept. 26 “N.K. tightens border security to prevent mass defections: source

… The North Korean authorities employed the step as defections have become easier as the heavy rains wrecked lots of border facilities, such as guard posts, and barbed-wire fences, the Radio Free Asia (RFA) said, citing a source in the North.

KOREA HERALD

Sept. 23 “UN agencies in NK request relief fund for flood victims

… Chance are high that if the North receives aid, it will make bombastic propaganda to its people that superpowers like the United States and the UN have offered support in fear of the North, Greg Scarlatoiu, executive director of the US-based non-governmental Committee for Human Rights in North Korea recently told US media outlet Radio Free Asia.

WASHINGTON POST

Sept. 22 “China sentences activist lawyer to 12 years as relentless crackdown continues

… Another prominent lawyer, Wang Yu, was released on bail after making a similar televised confession. She had been held for more than a year on subversion charges and remains under tight surveillance akin to house arrest along with her family, Radio Free Asia reported this week.

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

Sept. 22 “China: Credibly Investigate Xinjiang Blast

… The sparse information about the blast comes from United States-funded Radio Free Asia and the Hong Kong-based newspaper Mingpao; Human Rights Watch has been unable to independently verify this information.

KOREA TIMES

Sept. 22 “N. Korea's rice production estimated to reach 2.4 million tons this year

… According to Radio Free Asia (RFA), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) made the estimation, saying the weather conditions have been generally favorable for the main rice-growing regions in the reclusive country.

HONG KONG FREE PRESS

Sept. 22 “Henan man sues hospital after allegedly being sent to psychiatric hospital for being gay

… Yu’s lawyer Huang Rui told US-backed Radio Free Asia that the key to the case depends on whether there is evidence to prove that Yu Hu has a mental illness.

MINING.COM

Sept. 21 “Investigation reveals gold mining destruction in Myanmar

lengthy investigation published by Radio Free Asia is putting the spotlight on the disastrous effects of the poorly regulated gold mining industry in Myanmar. From unprecedented environmental destruction to the human toll of low-paying and hazardous jobs, RFA’s multimedia story delves deeply into the consequences of the country’s decision to open its mines to both multinational firms and local operators after almost half a century of restrictive access.

COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS-ASIA UNBOUND blog

Sept. 20 “Where Next for Cambodian Politics?

According to Radio Free Asia, Hun Sen recently told legislators,” You [the political opposition] can never threaten us with the demonstrations. Let me make it clear that it is not going to work that way … Don’t even think about it. If I ever enter into such negotiations I will be nothing short of a dog.”

KOREA HERALD

Sept. 18 “N. Koreans anxious over nuke test, but indifferent to its outcomes: report

North Koreans are feeling insecure about infrastructure damage caused by the reclusive country's latest nuclear test but remain indifferent to its outcome, U.S.-based media Radio Free Asia said Sunday, citing Japanese media outlet Asia Press.

UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL

Sept. 16 “North Korea foreign minister defends nuclear test at summit

… A source in North Korea told Radio Free Asia that Pyongyang has launched a five-year plan to modernize the military.

UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL (Also in HONG KONG FREE PRESS, VOA)

Sept. 16 “China puts fishing village on lockdown after protests

… [link to RFA video] Protesters and government forces battled in Wukan, China, after a beloved leader in the Chinese fishing village was jailed on corruption charges. Screenshot from Radio Free Asia.

CHOSUN

Sept. 9 “Obama Submits Plans for Getting Info to N.Koreans

The Obama administration has submitted a report to U.S. lawmakers on how it plans to help North Koreans get better access to outside information. … From 2017, the U.S. government plans to spend US$8 million a year for the next five years to get information to North Koreans. The U.S. currently broadcasts programs to North Korea 11 hours a day via Voice of America and Radio Free Asia.

NEW YORK POST (Also in UPI, INDEPENDENT, QUARTZ, TIMES OF INDIA, MIC, MTV, NEW YORK MAGAZINE, REASON)

Sept. 8 “Kim Jong Un can’t take the jokes, bans sarcasm

Kim Jong Un is making jokes about him no laughing matter. The diminutive dictator banned North Koreans from making sarcastic comments about him or his regime. Government authorities gathered citizens in mass meetings to warn them of the latest ban, according to Radio Free Asia.

KBS

Sept. 8 “RFA: N. Korean Diplomat Defected due to Pressure to Send Money

Radio Free Asia reported Thursday that a high-ranking North Korean trade representative stationed in Vladivostok defected to South Korea in July due to extreme pressure he was under to send more foreign currencies to the North.

MIZZIMA (Also in DAILY CALLER)

Sept. 7 “NGO calls for release of 5 Chinese citizen journalists arrested during G20

Yang Xiuqiong, a citizen journalist who covered the arrest of ten “petitioners” (ordinary citizens campaigning about grievances) in a train on the evening of 2 September, has been reported missing by her family and colleagues. She also commented on these arrests for the Radio Free Asia website.

DIPLOMAT

Sept. 6 “Cambodia's Anti-Vietnam Obsession

… In August, Radio Free Asia reported that in Kratie authorities were “finally” formulating a plan to clean up the riverside (along the Mekong) and in particular deal with the “unregulated and polluting” Vietnamese residents who have taken up residence along the river. (In reality, fishing villages are comprised of Khmer and Cham immigrants as well. Some, such as Kompong Luong in Pursat are mixed, while those in Kompong Chnang and Siem Reap tend to be more segregated.)

BANGKOK POST

Sept. 3 “Slain Cambodian activist's widow takes refuge in Thailand

… Bou Rachana and her four sons, who left Cambodia for Thailand on Aug 28, have received refugee status from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and are awaiting a decision to move them to a third country, said a source who spoke to the Khmer service of Radio Free Asia (RFA).

CAMBODIA DAILY

Sept. 3 “Hun Manet Torture Case Advances

… The lawyer told Radio Free Asia that the order paved the way for the Cambodian government to either cooperate with the court, or automatically lose the case.

FRONTIER

Sept. 1 “Social media shines a light on Myanmar's taboo topics

News of the incident reached Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and she discussed it in her regular program on Radio Free Asia, Nyi Nyi Kyaw said, adding that the case was an example of how social media was making the government more aware of such incidents.

UPI

Sept. 1 “Pyongyang condemns Seoul's North Korea human rights act

… But while purges and executions are affecting some members of the regime, others, including Pyongyang's missile and nuclear scientists, are emerging as a favored class, Radio Free Asia reported.

DAILY MAIL (Also in IHS JANE’S DEFENCE WEEKLY, UPI, WASHINGTON TIMES, SKY NEWS, INDEPENDENT, DECCAN CHRONICLE)

Sept. 1 “North Korea trains its elite soldiers to use 'nuclear backpacks' as individual bombs as it emerges Kim Jong Un wants to build a 3,000 tonne submarine

… According to Radio Free Asia, formation of the units has been taking place since March and is stationed in the North Hamgyong province.

KHMER TIMES

Sept. 1 “Election Reporting Banned

The Information Ministry has banned journalists from publishing any information about the results of the next elections before the ministry does to avoid what they claim would cause “confusion to the public.” … In 2012 the Information Ministry banned FM radio stations from broadcasting shows from Voice of America and Radio Free Asia and shut down a Voice of Democracy segment on voting irregularities airing on election day.

HONG KONG FREE PRESS

Sept. 1 “Chinese activist’s skull smashed in detention centre; authorities cite attempted suicide

Chinese activist Xing Wangli is in critical condition after his skull was smashed at a detention centre on Saturday, according to US-backed Radio Free Asia (RFA). Local police said that Xing attempted to commit suicide with a paper rope and failed in the process with his head hitting the ground.