North Korea’s authorities have announced at a press conference the detention and expulsion of British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) correspondent Rupert Wingfield-Hayes from the country for his reporting.
Wingfield-Hayes was joined on the plane by BBC producer Maria Byrne and cameraman Matthew Goddard after he was questioned for eight hours by North Korean officials and made to sign a statement apologizing, according to the BBC. All three have now been taken to the airport by their minders.
North Korean authorities said they took issue with “disrespectful” reports he filed from inside the country last week. He was detained at the airport and questioned but has since been released.
O Ryong Il, Secretary General of the DPRK National Peace Committee said at the press conference that, “We have decided to expel the Tokyo BBC correspondent Rupert Wingfield-Hayes from the territory of the DPRK and we are going to never admit him again into the country for any report,”, using an acronym for the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea, North Korea’s official name.
He maintained that, “We think that if the BBC is a genuine, true, international media organization you should be acting in such a way as to respect the law and system in the country, and you must admit your mistakes”.
Another BBC correspondent was at the press conference; there were only a handful of news outlets present and CNN was the only American network, who used the word ‘interrogated’ and asked how the world would view the fact that North Korea had detained and punished a journalist for reporting things that they didn’t agree with. The question remained unanswered and the official walked out of the room.
Officials say that Wingfield-Hayes violated local customs and acted in an aggressive manner during his trip. During their coverage they were not very just in terms of respecting the local custom, the system in the DPRK and even made distorted facts, the realities about the situation and they were speaking very ill of the system of the leadership of the country when they should have been reporting very fairly, objectively and very correctly.
CNN’s Will Ripley, who is in Pyongyang for the Seventh Congress of the ruling Korean Workers’ Party, reported the news of the crew’s expulsion.