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U.S. Senate committee passes bill on battling N. Korean censorship

Diplomacy 22:29 October 27, 2021

By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. Senate foreign relations committee has passed a bill aimed at countering North Korea's repressive censorship and providing outside information to the people of the reclusive North, a cosponsor of the bill said Wednesday.

The bill, titled the Otto Warmbier North Korea Censorship and Surveillance Act, passed the Senate committee last Tuesday, according to Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH).

The proposed bill is named after the Cincinnati native, who was detained by North Korea during his trip there in 2016 for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster from his hotel.

Warmbier, then 22, died in June 2017, six days after he was released from North Korea.

"Otto Warmbier was the best of America, the Midwest and Cincinnati. This legislation will help ensure his memory lives on and the brutal regime responsible for his unjust death is held accountable for this and its myriad of other human rights abuses," Portman said, according to a press release from his office.

The bill, jointly proposed by senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Chris Coons (D-DE) in June, seeks to require the U.S. president to develop and submit to Congress "a strategy on combating North Korea's repressive information environment" within 180 days of its enactment.

It, if enacted, will also provide US$10 million annually to the U.S. Agency for Global Media for the next five years to increase its broadcasting into North Korea, as well as provide grants to private media outlets that send outside information into the reclusive state.


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