North Korean authorities control citizens through mandatory self-criticism sessions
Freedom of expression is neither protected or respected in North Korea. Furthermore, the government forces its ideology on the public and seeks to control how citizens express themselves and communicate with one another. Recent reports from North Korea indicate that the government ordered its citizens to participate in self-criticism sessions throughout January 2017. North Korean Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-Un, set the example of self-criticism in his New Year's state address by saying that he has "spent the year with regrets and sadness". All citizens have been required to attend such state-sponsored sessions, which are closely monitored by the authorities. One defector commented on the sessions, saying:
"Residents not only have to memorise the original text of the New Year's address, but also must study the education book and attend lectures and discussions along with self-criticisms. During the debate sessions, people are forced to disclose everything they have done during the last year and criticise themselves, creating an atmosphere of 'ideological struggle' every day".
Reports also showed that the regime is closely monitoring the daily activities of residents near the South Korean border to prevent the spread of rumours and flow of information and news following the mysterious death of Kim Jong-Un's half brother, Kim Jong Nam, in Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur airport.