BBC reporter Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, who was detained in North Korea for publishing “disrespectful” reports, is being expelled from the country, the authorities said in a press release. BBC producer Maria Byrne and cameraman Matthew Goddard will join Wingfield-Hayes on the plane.
CNN reported that the BBC reporter was interrogated by the North Korean authorities for eight hours after being detained at the airport. He was later released after making him sign a statement of apology.
“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,” the CNN quoted O Ryong Il, Secretary General of the DPRK National Peace Committee, as saying at the press conference.
“We think that if the BBC is a genuine, true, international media organisation, you should be acting in such a way as to respect the law and system in the country, and you must admit your mistakes,” he added.
All three media team members were held over the weekend but are now being deported.
The BBC reported that the team was accompanying a group of Nobel prize laureates to North Korea on a research trip ahead of the Workers’ Party Congress. The North Korean leadership was displeased with his reports on the life in the country’s capital city.
According to officials, Wingfield-Hayes violated local customs and acted in an aggressive manner during the 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,” said an official.
The BBC reporter said that before his detention, the North Korean authorities spoke to him very harshly over his reporting on the city life of the country.