April 2, 2013 5:02 pm

Reporters provide rare glimpse into North Korea through social media


TORONTO – Despite North Korea’s recent headline-grabbing political moves, the communist country has largely remained a mystery to foreigners thanks to its strict control on Internet and mobile phones.

But after allowing foreign visitors to have access to 3G data in March, images from within the country quickly began to surface on social media sites such as Instagram.

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The Associated Press’ Pyongyang Bureau Chief Jean H. Lee was among the first to tweet from inside the boundaries of the country and quickly began documenting evidence of daily life in the capitol city of Pyongyang through her Instagram account.

But mixed in with images of young women ice skating and various electronics used by the people of Pyongyang are images of anti-American propaganda.

Chief Asia photographer for the Associated Press David Guttenfelder has also taken to social media to share his view of North Korea.

“In the past I could post geolocated phone photos to my Instagram feed by turning my online laptop into a hotspot to link my iPhone or iPod touch by wifi. But, today I’m posting this directly from my phone while riding in the back of a van in #Pyongyang,” he wrote on a photo uploaded to Instagram.

“The window on to North Korea has opened another crack. Meanwhile, for Koreans here who will not have access to the same service, the window remains shut.”

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