The Associated Press Is Setting Up Shop In North Korea
Pyongyang office would be first for Western print organization
The Associated Press has reached an agreement with North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency to open a bureau office in Pyongyang, according to a press release. The AP's Pyongyang bureau would be "the first permanent text and photo bureau operated by a Western news organization in the North Korean capital." In 2006, AP Television News became the first Western news agency to open a full-time office in Pyongyang.
According to the statement, "leaders of the two news organizations held discussions during a New York visit by KCNA executives and this week signed two memos of understanding and a contract." (The second deal is more mundane and "outlines cooperation on journalistic and photo/video technology issues, including a joint photo exhibition by the two agencies in New York next year.")
In addition to providing a foothold inside one of the world's most secretive dictatorships, the deal also includes language making the AP the "exclusive distributor of contemporary and historic video from KCNA's archive," which would seem to give the outlet a monopoly on all North Korea media in the West, if you really believe the country is going to stick to the terms of the deal.