The Associated Press announces agreements to expand access in North Korea

[The following is an AP press release dated 29 June 2011. Memos of understanding were signed by Kim Pyong Ho, president of Korean Central News Agency, and AP President and CEO Tom Curley on Tuesday, 28 June 2011 in New York. A series of agreements between the Associated Press and the North Korean state news agency herald the opening of an AP bureau in Pyongyang and deeper photo/video cooperation.  The AP bills itself as “the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats. Founded in 1846, AP today is the largest and most trusted source of independent news and information. On any given day, more than half the world’s population sees news from AP.” –CanKor.]

AP President and CEO Tom Curley with Kim Pyong Ho, President of Korean Central News Agency (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The Associated Press today announced agreements with the Korea Central News Agency, including one to open an AP news bureau in Pyongyang.

Leaders of the two news organizations held discussions during a New York visit by KCNA executives and this week signed two memos of understanding and a contract.

Under one memo of understanding work begins immediately on discussions aimed at opening an AP bureau in Pyongyang. It would be the first permanent text and photo bureau operated by a Western news organization in the North Korean capital. Five years ago, AP Television News, headquartered in London, became the first Western news organization to establish an office in North Korea.

The second memo of understanding outlines cooperation on journalistic and photo/video technology issues, including a joint photo exhibition by the two agencies in New York next year.

The contract signed this week designates AP as the exclusive distributor of contemporary and historic video from KCNA’s archive, providing a new source of video content from North Korea to AP’s members and customers around the world.

“This agreement between AP and KCNA is historic and significant,” said AP President and CEO Tom Curley. “AP is once again being trusted to open a door to better understanding between a nation and the world. We are grateful for this opportunity and look forward to providing coverage for AP’s global audience in our usually reliable and insightful way.”

Kim Pyong Ho, president of KCNA, said: “I hope this agreement contributes not only to the strengthening of relations between our two news agencies but also to the better understanding between the peoples of our two countries and the improvement of the DPRK-U.S. relations.”

President Kim led a delegation of KCNA executives on a visit to AP’s New York headquarters. Last March, Curley and Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll, along with Senior Managing Editor for International News John Daniszewski, traveled to Pyongyang.

AP Seoul Bureau Chief Jean H. Lee and Chief Asia Photographer David Guttenfelder have made several extensive reporting trips to North Korea in the past several months, resulting in unprecedented coverage of the country and its people.

The AP operates from 300 locations in more than 100 countries.


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