LONDON (TIP): Students from London School of Economics have started receiving email threats from North Korea after it was revealed that a BBC crew came with them undercover filming from within the secretive state. The students now blame the LSE for “putting them at risk”. LSE had last week accused the BBC of putting students in serious danger by infiltrating a college trip to get into North Korea and film. LSE said the BBC deceived the institution as one of its reporters lied about being a PhD student.
In an open letter to the LSE, the students accused the Institute of putting them in danger by revealing details of the operation. “Our main consideration here was that the BBC agreed that the documentary would not reveal our names or that of the LSE,” they wrote. “We feel that we have now been put in more risk than was original thought of as a result of the LSE’s decision to go public with their story,” the letter said.
They criticised the LSE for “going public” without consulting them, consequently exposing both the individuals involved and the institution. “We valued the trip as a rare chance to see North Korea from the inside,” they wrote in the letter sent to the chairman Peter Sutherland and the director of LSE Craig Calhoun. “Nothing happened on the trip which would indicate that we were put in danger, and we returned safely.” The BBC had said that the footage “is strongly in public interest” and will go ahead to air the programme.
BBC also said that if they were caught, the students and the crew would face “possible arrest and detention”. Three BBC journalists formed part of three student group and spent eight days within North Korea. The journalists ravelled to North Korea with members of a LSE’s Grimshaw Club. LSE had last week sent a strong letter to all members of the university, deploring BBC’s actions. It said “The programme has been produced using as cover a visit to North Korea from 23 to 30 March 2013 in the name of the Grimshaw Club, a student society at LSE. The School authorities had no advance knowledge of the trip or of its planning.”