May 24, 2022

North Korea, where access to reliable online content could not be more blocked if it tried

Avi Raz Cohen, CEO, Hola

If we’ve learnt anything over the last few years it's that having access to reliable information makes all the difference. Whether it’s peace of mind or just staying informed, having trust in the information you have access to has come into sharper focus than ever.

We went from Covid-19 well into 2021, and then geopolitics did its thing with Europe seeing a major war for the first time this century. But if we look at North Korea (DPRK), they’re only now acknowledging that they have Covid-19 cases at all. With the population of the “hermit kingdom” having been kept largely in the dark, they’re pretty much starting from zero. 

Furthermore, the North Korean population suffers from a flow of information that is completely different to what we are used to, for 2 reasons. The first is, they are on a different, ring-fenced internet. Secondly, what makes it onto that internet is massively restricted by the government. Granted, the DPRK has challenges-a-plenty, this is one more to add into the mix. 

How the DPRK government ends up handling the outbreak is anybody’s guess, for example, they have so far refused vaccine offers from other countries, not made any statements of whether they’ll try to follow the initial Swedish model with the aim of achieving herd immunity or the Chinese model whose goal is Zero Covid. As much as we don’t know, the odds of their population knowing are even more slim. Indeed, it’s very worrying.

However, what’s happening in North Korea really does illustrate how crucial reliable online information truly is for their citizenry. With the increase in the spread of Monkeypox cases entering the news cycle, one can safely assume that they are (blissfully) unaware of it. 

For those of us who are fortunate to live in countries where information is more easily accessible, UNAIDS already felt the need to put out a press release warning that “stigmatizing language on Monkeypox jeopardizes public health”. This is a prime example of important, reliable, well-sourced information that unfortunately not everybody will get access to. It’s a sad reality, one that at Hola, we are committed to fighting against.

Hola is committed to online freedom, we firmly believe in a Borderless Internet - where access to crucial, reliable information is not a privilege, it’s a fundamental right. Having the ability to find information that allows us to feel safe, informed and in control allows us to be better parents, friends and citizens. We all get onto the same (web) page, we all are together in fighting the good fight against these diseases and misinformation. 
The Hola community is growing every day. Start enjoying a Borderless Internet and join us by downloading the Hola Browser today!

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