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North Korea news

FIFA defends North Korea censorship

June 16, 2010
By Soccernet staff

FIFA has defended its attempts to prevent journalists putting political questions to the North Korean coach and players.

Jong Tae-Se
GettyImagesFIFA officials have restricted the questions that the North Koreans can answers.

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At a press conference after the match against Brazil, a FIFA press officer intervened when North Korean coach Kim Jong-hun was asked about whether the game would be shown on television in his country after South Korea had blocked TV feeds following the sinking of a boat.

"We are here to talk about football not politics," a FIFA spokesman said. "What we are trying to do is facilitate a relationship between the teams and the media, and the media officer did what he felt was right to achieve that."

Journalists countered by accusing FIFA of hypocrisy, claiming it marketed the World Cup in a political context, and also saying the press officer's conduct had gone against FIFA's commitment to open media access.

Some of the media did manage to speak to one of the three hundred or so North Korean fans who watched the Brazil match and who, the LA Times reported, "reacted to the action on the field only when directed to do so by a man who stood before them like an orchestra conductor".

The fan said he said he had been recruited by the North Korean government and that the group did not know each other before heading to South Africa.