"While it remains the most closed media environment in the world, North Korea has, to a significant extent, opened unofficially since the late 1990s. North Koreans today have significantly greater access to outside information than they did 20 years ago," the study says.
Nowadays, North Koreans with exposure to outside news or entertainment media are more likely to be favorably disposed toward South Korea and the United States _ the North's traditional enemies _ although they would be extremely limited in their ability to express such views or act on them, the study says. While these changing views are unlikely to result in significant pressure on the North Korean government in the short term, many North Koreans "are beginning to look more critically at the basic premises of their country's power structure and policies," it says.
Access to technology in the isolated state has picked up rapidly in recent years, fueled by cheap imports from China. Some 74 percent of those interviewed had access to a TV when they lived in North Korea, and 46 percent had access to a DVD player. Computers, portable USB drives and illegal Chinese mobile phones that can make international calls _ unlike local cellphones _ also have begun entering the country in substantial numbers, especially among the elite.
However, there is no access to the Internet beyond a small number of computers in highly secure or highly monitored areas.
InterMedia does not report on North Korea's allowing the foreign media unprecedented access to North Korea to report on last month's centennial of the nation's founder _ including its failed attempt to launch a long-range rocket in defiance of U.N. sanctions _ and whether that augurs any loosening of state control.