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Defector to drop “The Interview” into North Korea

A South Korean activist has announced plans to distribute copies of a controversial movie depicting the assassination of North Korea’s leader to oppressed citizens in the country there.

Park Sang-hak, a former citizen of North Korea who defected in 1999, announced plans to air-drop pirated copies of “The Interview” over the border as soon as mid-January. The film will be distributed on 100,000 DVDs and USB drives and will feature Korean subtitles.

Park told the Associated Press his campaign is being funded by the non-profit Human Rights Foundation. The activist hopes to conduct his first balloon drop of the films on January 20 if weather conditions permit.

“The Interview,” a comedy starring actors Seth Rogen and James Franco, drew controversy over the fictitious account of an assassination plot against North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Sony Pictures Entertainment, the studio that financed the film, suffered a crippling computer intrusion in late November that saw the release of a trove of sensitive employee and business data, including medical records and e-mail messages from the accounts of studio executives.

Federal law enforcement officials have blamed North Korea as an instigator behind the attack. North Korean diplomats have openly denied having any involvement in the compromise; security experts have suggested that foreign hackers colluding with at least one insider associated with the studio are likely to blame for the incident.

If Park’s campaign goes according to plan, it will almost certainly anger the North Korean government. But it’s unclear how effective the campaign will be, since most North Korean lack access to robust digital technology — only a handful of citizens own DVD players and computers, gadgets that carry high retail prices in the country, the Associated Press noted.

Park expects his campaign to continue until at least the spring.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is an award-winning journalist with more than 10 years of experience covering the business of television and radio broadcasting, streaming services and the overall media industry. In addition to his work as publisher of The Desk, Matthew contributes regularly to StreamTV Insider and KnowTechie, and has worked for several well-known news organizations, including Thomson Reuters, McNaughton Newspapers, Grasswire, Comstock's magazine, KTXL-TV and KGO-TV. Matthew is a member of IRE, a trade organization for investigative reporters and editors, and is based in Northern California.

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