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S. Korea to launch satellite TV to the north

Tuesday 06 Sep 2011

A private South Korean group says it intends, as soon as next year, to beam satellite entertainment television programmes into the North, reports Voice of America.

North Koreans are allowed to watch only the government’s television channels, which mainly broadcast news, movies and documentaries.

But a group of South Koreans wants to give those on the northern side of the divided peninsula some lighter fare, hoping that will help unify, at least culturally, the two Koreas.

Unification TV is to be composed primarily of South Korean dramas and other entertainment programmes.

The Chairman of Korean Peninsula Vision and Unification Bong Doo-wan says the timing is right to launch this project.

Bong says inter-Korean relations have been frozen for 60 years and Korea remains the only nation divided into two countries. He says the South Korean public wants ethnic unification to proceed with political unification set aside. And, Bong says, the most effective way to meet this challenge is through the media, with broadcasting being the quickest medium to achieve this.

The channel founders plan to raise US$46 million from private backers and the government for the launch. But there is no indication yet that South Korea’s government intends to contribute funds.

The station’s founders say the programming they will air should be neutral and inoffensive to the leaders in Pyongyang or Seoul.

Skeptical analysts note it would be nearly impossible for North Koreans to acquire and install the roof-top satellite dishes and receivers needed to view the TV signal from space.