SEOUL—North Korean defectors watch significantly more television than South Koreans once they arrive in the South, according to a new study by the Korean Broadcasting Institute.
The study surveyed 154 defectors from May 17 to June 10, 2005 and was released Nov. 8. It found that North Korean defectors watch an average 216 minutes of television daily, or 35 minutes more than South Koreans.
On weekends, the Northerners watch 316 minutes—or 100 minutes more than South Koreans. They also listen to a variety of radio programs 125 minutes daily, roughly three times more than South Koreans.
“The North Korean defectors don’t have any particular way to entertain themselves, so they spend their spare time watching television or listening to the radio. They rely mainly on media,” Sung Sook-hee, a chief researcher at the Korean Broadcasting Institute, told RFA’s Korean service.
“However, since North Korean defectors depend mainly on television, the possibility that they are addicted to television is high.”
The North Korean defectors don’t have any particular way to entertain themselves, so they spend their spare time watching television or listening to the radio. They rely mainly on media.
Asked about their aggressive viewing habits, the defectors said they watched television “to learn about international affairs and to understand how South Koreans live.”
In particular, 80 percent of the respondents said television was helpful in understanding and learning colloquial South Korean speech and mores, the study said.
Many have negative perceptions about South Korean society because the news programs and soap operas that they like to watch focus on these, Sung said.
“The South Korean society depicted on television has many negative images. The defectors can see adultery, corruption, and labor union protests on the news and soap operas. These images have a negative impact on them, “ she said.
Another recent study found that half of North Koreans who had possessed a radio inside North Korea had listened to South Korean broadcasts aimed at North Korea.
In particular, 14 percent of the respondents said that they had been greatly influenced by South Korean broadcasts. In addition, almost 70 percent of the respondents answered, “more than a regular influence.”
Original reporting in Korean by Jinhee Lee. RFA Korean service director: Jaehoon Ahn. Written in English by Sarah Jackson-Han.