Free North Korea Radio

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Free North Korea Radio (Korean자유북한방송; RRJayu Bukhan Bangsong) is a radio broadcaster based in Seoul, South Korea.[1] The station is run primarily by North Korean refugees and defectors and frequently broadcasts shortwave transmissions of news and information to the general population inside North Korea. The radio was established by Kim Seong-min, a former North Korean military monitor for foreign broadcasts, who was influenced by the foreign broadcasts that he monitored and defected from North Korea in 1996.

Free North Korea Radio has received an award from Reporters Without Borders in acknowledgement of its efforts.[2]

Free North Korea Radio started broadcasting from Seoul in 2004.[3] It is a project of the Defense Forum Foundation, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization.


Free North Korea Radio staff have been assaulted repeatedly by South Korean extremist groups who support the North Korean regime or fear the destabilizing effect of their broadcasts. Radio staff had to relocate to the outskirts of Seoul in 2005.[3]

In July 2020, the Washington Times reported on a cyber attack targeting individuals involved with Free North Korea Radio, including its co-founder Suzanne Scholte. The phishing scam impersonated a prominent journalist from The Atlantic, Uri Friedman, and asked interview questions of Scholte, which security experts told the Washington Times were part of a larger cyber operation.[4]

In response to news of the cyber attack, Col. David Maxwell, an analyst on North Korea, commented: "It’s not surprising that [Scholte] would have been targeted." Maxwell said, "I think the regime is focused on her organization because of the radio broadcasts...Shortwave radio broadcasts are one of the most effective ways to get outside information into North Korea, and the information has an effect."[4]

Types of broadcasts[edit]

Free North Korea Radio broadcasts a variety of news and information into North Korea, including news of current events happening within North Korea. The organization relies on a network of anonymous sources inside North Korea for this information, which it also publishes on its Korean-language website.[5]


As of 2008, Free North Korea Radio received an annual grant from the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy.[1] In 2019 former special envoy for North Korea human rights Robert R. King stated it was "supported by some U.S. government funds".[6]

As of 2020, Free North Korea Radio's English language website stated that it no longer received funding of any kind from the U.S. government.[7]


Broadcast time(KST) Frequency
22:00 - 23:00 11510 kHz
05:00 - 06:00 7550 kHz

※South Korean standard time=UTC+09:00

  • The frequency is as of April, 2020.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Chun, Susan (February 27, 2008). "Radio gives hope to North and South Koreans". CNN. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
  2. ^ "자유북한방송 | Free North Korea Broadcasting". FNK Radio. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  3. ^ a b Gelézeau, Valérie; De Ceuster, Koen; Delissen, Alain, eds. (2013). De-Bordering Korea. Tangible and intangible legacies of the Sunshine Policy. Routledge. pp. 98–99. ISBN 978-0-415-63743-5.
  4. ^ a b Taylor, Guy. "Rise of Kim Jong-un's sister marks increase North Korean cyberattacks". Washington Times. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  5. ^ "자유북한방송". FNK Radio. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  6. ^ Robert R. King (15 May 2019). "North Koreans Want External Information, But Kim Jong-Un Seeks to Limit Access". Center for Strategic and International Studies. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  7. ^ "About FNKR". Free North Korea Radio. Retrieved 3 July 2020.

External links[edit]