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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 a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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