Air raid warnings in North Korea

Thursday 21st March, 2013

At 0930 KST, there was a radio broadcast taken from North Korea’s wire service Channel 3 of an air raid warning, which was lifted again within the hour. The timing of this particular broadcast happens to coincide with rising tensions on the peninsula. Nevertheless, such air raid warnings are issued several times a year. They are not always reported in international media due to the internally restricted nature of wire programming.

North Korean broadcasting includes Chosun Radio Programming, FM Programming, Chosun Central TV Programming and Channel 3 Wire Broadcasting, which is an internal broadcasting system. There are three main areas of programming on this channel: propaganda promoting the Kim family; public education; and war-readiness programming.

Channel 3 is maintained not by the central authorities, but the Party institutions of each region. This is so that the second area of programming, public education, can be adapted for each region. In addition, the decentralized nature of the system aids in war-time usage of the channel.

The content for propaganda promoting the Kim family is produced by Section 3 of the Central Broadcasting Committee. For this reason, although Channel 3 falls under the remit of the Party’s Propaganda and Agitation Department, programming is overseen by the Party’s Civil Defense Department.

Update: According to an ex-psychological warfare officer for North Korea, a likely reason for this particular air raid warning having been broadcast on radio – rather than limited to internal wire programming – is for external psychological warfare purposes.

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