do u think that the information we see from North Korea in America is manipulated or people over there are really starving?
More likely your friend's tourist visit was manipulated. People are not allowed to travel freely to or in North Korea. Pyongyang is the capital, and it is whitewashed and polished with new buildings and modern hotels and stores that ordinary North Koreans cannot visit. Your friend was allowed into the country, which makes him quite lucky, and rare. Once there, he was not allowed to visit other areas of the country where starvation is common and annual. So the manipulation is not by the US government and media, it is by a rigid dictatorship in North Korea that controls every aspect of information in that country.
I think the manner in which the question is phrased is interesting. It implies that there is a collusion between the media and government. This might be interesting to explore in many situations. Yet, I have to believe the media in this particular situation. It seems that the leadership in North Korea possesses little care in helping the daily lives of its individuals. The severe repression of individual rights and efforts to maintain its own power over the people overwhelms all. While I am the first to admit that there are situations that have appeared different than on first glance, I would not place this situation in that context. I do think that until the leadership changes, there will be more horrific images of human suffering present.
I think that your friend's experiences in North Korea are probably similar to lots of tourists' experiences in America. People here are hungry and homeless, but tourists often don't see those things because that's not where tour companies take their buses. It's not good for business if the trip is too gritty or depressing.
Also, as I understand it, most tourists in North Korea take excursions that are organized or at least approved by the government, so these trips are planned to present the better parts of North Korean life and culture. It's in North Korea's best interest to present a happy face to Westerners.
I have no doubt that the stuff we see about North Korea is real. We get this kind of information from too many sources, and no one refutes it.
For example, China is a major ally of North Korea. They do not hesitate to tell us when they think we are wrong. They do not dispute our accounts of what is going on in North Korea.
A couple other points. There are lots of North Koreans who have escaped across the border to China. China does not deny this. Second, North Korea is willing to take food aid even from us. They would not be very likely to do this if they were not desperate.
i asked this because a close friend of mine just visited north korea and according to him everything was very beautiful, clean, people with money, and developed stores and trade. i guess he only saw the good parts of north korea since he was with a tour guide, which he was obligated too. although he is american her was treated extremely good, but as i said that might have been just make up