N/APosted on - 06/23/2015
Can someone explain to me why North Korea would block Instagram in the country? What would have caused such an action to be taken by the Government? What are their reasons for making such a decision and what do the Government hopes to achieve? Would you agree with the Government’s action taken against Instagram or you do think there was a better way handling this issue?
Why Instagram Not Accessible In North Korea?
It is not clear why the country blocked Instagram. Pyongyang censors blacklisted sites that are popular to tourists and journalists for sharing photos from inside DPRK. Instagram accounts in North Korea started receiving warnings telling them that access to the popular photo-sharing application has been blocked for the reason that it is in blacklist site. Another notice which is in Korean not translated in English says it contains “harmful content”.
Though Instagram was blacklisted, Facebook was not affected and continues to function normally in Pyongyang. Almost all North Koreans are restricted from accessing any social media. But in 2013, North Korea started allowing foreign visitors or foreigners to access 3G on their mobile handsets like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Periscope, which is a live-streaming video application, has been easily accessible to a bigger number of people or users in DPRK which is unusual for a country that has the strictest censorship on the planet.
The origin of the block is not clear and whether other websites are also affected. Many people suggests that the block is linked to a fire happened in June 11 at a luxury hotel where foreign visitors and tourists often go in Pyongyang. The images of the fire were leaked out of the country and were carried by media widely around the world. This is Pyongyang’s Koryo Hotel burning. See image.
The next day, internet services were suspended in Pyongyang for foreigners only. On June 16, the internet was restored and just about the same time Instagram was blocked.