Recent news from North Korea reveals that if parents are found to have watched a Hollywood movie, they could be sentenced to labor camps while their children may endure up to five years of imprisonment. Such draconian measures demonstrate the severity with which this regime punishes its citizens for even the most minor offenses.

As reported by The Daily Star, North Korean authorities are taking drastic measures to stop the influx of Hollywood films and other foreign media, dubbing it a “cultural invasion”. Only government-sanctioned movies and television shows can be watched in public places now, as they typically contain state propaganda. It is evident that this regime will go to great lengths to keep its citizens away from outside influence.

Those who are caught indulging in Hollywood movies may face harsh repercussions, such as involuntary labor and incarceration. The report says that “parents will be sent to labor camps for up to three years if they are found watching Hollywood movies, while their children will be sent to correctional institutions for up to five years.”

North Korea is notorious for its attempts to regulate the lives of its citizens and conceal them from foreign influences. The latest development in this ongoing struggle is a crackdown on Hollywood movies, which adds to an extensive history of control over media within the country; any individual daring enough to seek out information outside their home nation faces severe consequences.

The international community has strongly denounced the government’s attempts to control media outlets, with human rights organizations calling out the regime for breaching its citizens’ fundamental human rights such as freedom of expression and access to information.

The North Korean government has been decried for its harsh treatment of dissidents, religious minorities, and those who don’t abide by the regime’s restrictive values. Reports have emerged that they are orchestrating a range of inhumane activities including enslavement, torture, and extrajudicial executions of unsuspecting victims.

Despite the government’s stringent regulations on media access, North Koreans are beginning to find methods of circumventing them. Unlawful satellite dishes and smuggled DVDs are becoming commonplace while accessing foreign content via the internet appears to be a favored choice. It seems that even in an oppressive regime such as North Korea people will always find ways to seek out new forms of entertainment.

The North Korean government has met these advancements with tightened security and harsher punishment. In 2015, they executed a high-ranking official for the crime of watching South Korean dramas, and two years later in 2016 sentenced twelve waitresses to death who had defected back from South Korea after being suspected of accessing foreign media while away.

North Korea’s attempts to restrict its citizens from any foreign influence are exemplified in the recent ban on Hollywood movies. However, these campaigns of control are failing as many locals find ways to gain access and discover what wonders lie beyond their borders. The people of North Korea strive for liberation, they thirst for a free-flowing exchange of ideas with the outside world.