BBC journalist, Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, has been expelled by North Korean authorities on Monday. Wingfield-Hayes was stopped at Pyongyang airport, detained, taken to a hotel and questioned. It is said that he was questioned or ‘interrogated’ for hours by North Korean authorities and made to sign a statement apologizing.
O Ryong Il, secretary-general of the North’s National Peace Committee said Wingfield-Hayes distorted some facts and “spoke ill of the system and the leadership of the country.” He added “We have decided to expel the Tokyo BBC correspondent Rupert Wingfield-Hayes from the territory of the DPRK (Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea) and we are going to never admit him again into the country for any report.” Stephen Evans of the BBC who is still in Pyongyang said the North Korean leadership was disappointed with the broadcaster’s depiction of the life in the country’s capital.
Wingfield-Hayes and his team were in the country before the Workers’ Party Congress. They were on a trip with three Nobel Laureates organized by the Vienna-based International Peace Foundation (IPF). At a trip to the hospital, Wingfield-Hayes reported the patients looked “remarkably well, and there isn’t a doctor in sight.” He added “Everything we see looks like a set-up.” He also stated that he’s “hoping for any chance to see North Korea ‘off script’.”
More than 100 foreign journalists were invited to cover the 7th Workers’ Party Congress but they were barred from actually covering the proceedings. Most of the reports were given by the state media. North Korean officials showed foreign journalists only a select portion what’s really happening at the event currently held in the state.