Human rights activists are planning to airdrop DVDs of “The Interview” into North Korea when it becomes available, using specially designed hydrogen balloons. The group has been sending illegal materials like transistor radios and DVDs from South Korea for years.
The group, called Fighters for a Free North Korea, is run by Park Sung Hak, one of the country’s former propagandists. The drops, which contain a number of pro-democracy materials, have been funded for the past two years by the Human Rights Foundation in New York. The group says the drops are not meant to entertain so much as introduce North Koreans to the rest of the world, it says.
“Viewing any one of these is a subversive act that could get you executed,” Thor Halvorssen, president of the HRF, told the Hollywood Reporter. “And ‘The Interview’ is tremendously threatening to the Kims. They cannot abide by anything that portrays them as anything other than a god. This movie destroys the narrative.”
The next North Korea airdrop is set for January. While “The Interview” is unlikely to be released on DVD by then, Halvorssen told THR that he would send it as soon as it becomes available. The group’s airdrops are often copied by North Koreans who then sell them for a profit on the country’s growing black market -- often for a few cents, the report said.
The past few drops have included films like “Braveheart” and shows like “Battlestar Galactica.” Halvorssen told THR that any titles starring action heroes like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone were also wildly popular with North Koreans.
The group launches balloons from secret locations in South Korea to avoid the country’s border authorities. The balloons fly as high as two miles to avoid being shot down, and contain a timer that releases an acid to break open bags of DVDs as well as leaflets, books and USB drives containing things like a Korean version of Wikipedia.
In the past, banners that stated “The regime must fall” in Korean have adorned the drops. Halvorssen told THR that 80 people were executed for viewing or disseminating “illegal” materials, like the ones the group sends.