Activists Postpone Dropping ‘The Interview’ via Balloons Into North Korea

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

South Korean activists announced on Monday that they will delay their controversial campaign to fly thousands of DVD copies of The Interview, a Sony Pictures comedy that depicts the assassination of Kim Jong-un, into North Korea, reports Yonhap News Agency.

Fighters for a Free North Korea (FFNK), the activist group organizing the balloon drop, initially planned to send leaflets and copies of the Seth Rogen comedy on Thursday, the five-year anniversary of the North’s deadly sinking of the South Korean navy vessel Cheonan. However, the group decided to postpone the airdrop until after the anniversary to give Pyongyang a chance to apologize for the torpedo attack that killed 46 sailors.

In a phone interview with the L.A. Times, Park Sang-hak, a North Korean defector and FFNK leader, said he wanted North Koreans to watch The Interview to see their glorified leader in a different light. Although he admitted that he personally did not enjoy watching the film and found its jokes to be crude, Park claimed that The Interview “served a righteous cause” by revealing contradictions in North Korean propaganda.

The DVD copies set to drop into North Korea were reportedly altered to make the first few minutes of the footage to look like a state-produced North Korean film, according to the L.A. Times.

On Sunday, North Korea formally warned the South that it would use “every firepower strike means” of its forces to shoot down the balloons. Last October, the North shot down balloons with machine guns, with some shells landing on the South side of the border. No injuries or casualties were reported.

In response, the South Korean government has reiterated that the leaflet campaigns are a private exercise of freedom of speech and claimed that it does not have the legal authority to curb the balloon launches. The government, however, strongly encouraged activist groups to consider the safety of residents in border regions.

South Korean residents of border regions have repeatedly protested against the balloon launches, arguing that they only antagonize the North and pose a threat to their community’s safety.

The South Korean government added that it will “strongly and resolutely” respond to North Korea’s aggressive acts against the leaflet campaigns, according to Yonhap.


Featured image courtesy of Sony Pictures