Beyond the “Hermit Kingdom”

Media both reflects the norms and values which undergird the social and political fabric of a community and, in turn, a community’s media representations can help shape perceptions that a particular society holds of itself and others. This is no different in the context of North Korea, and the media framing of the DPRK both in South Korea and internationally shape developments on the peninsula through its ability to shape public opinion towards a country characterized as a “hermit kingdom”. How have key incidents and crises relating to North Korea been portrayed in North America and South Korea? What purpose does this framing serve, and what interests are at play in the framing of North Korean developments within human rights discourses?

Please join the INDePth Conference, in collaboration with the Contemporary Asian Studies Student Union, as we host “Beyond the “Hermit Kingdom”: Media Perception and Depiction of North Korea” next Monday, January 13th from 4 to 6 PM in room 208N at the Munk School. The panel discussion will include Ann Shin, Gilad Cohen, and Jack Kim.



Ann has been a Producer and Director for CBC, Discovery, HGTV, History, W and Food Network. Her latest cross-platform documentary The Defector: Escape from North Korea was filmed undercover, following North Koreans on a 5,000 km escape journey. The film has screened at 20 international film festivals and has been nominated for 4 awards to date, winning the Canadian Digi Award and FITC Award.

Jack is the founder and former executive director of HanVoice, the largest organization in Canada advocating on behalf of North Korean human rights and refugees. He is also on the board of Jayu: The North Korean Human Rights Film Festival, and is the Managing Editor at, the only blog in Canada devoted completely to North Korean issues. He frequently consults decision-makers in Canada with regards to North Korean issues, and has been part of private consultations with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, among others. During the day, Jack is an immigration lawyer at Fragomen (Canada), the largest immigration firm in the world.

As the former President of a North Korean human rights group at Wilfrid Laurier University, Elysse has spent the past 2 years creating awareness throughout the community regarding the continuous human rights violations that the North Korean people face. As a recent graduate from Wilfrid Laurier University with an Honours BA in Global Studies, Elysse is now working in Toronto while keeping her passion alive through working with Jayu as the Director. With an interest in film and music, Elysse helps Jayu work towards building human rights awareness through art.