Continued from page 2

And while some people in Myanmar are afraid to talk politics on the telephone, few people in North Korea even have access to international phone lines.

But if few signs are seen of internal change in North Korea, it is evident people there increasingly can see the outside world.

While North Korea’s government-controlled media allow little but praise for the Kim family, the spread of technology — from inexpensive DVD players to cheap, handheld radios — means there are now many ways for North Koreans to get around their government’s media roadblocks.

Most North Koreans have no access to the Internet, but they increasingly can buy DVDs smuggled in from China. Those DVDs show everything from South Korean soap operas to recordings of foreign news broadcasts.

“In 2012, North Koreans can get more outside information, through more types of media, from more sources, than ever before,” according to a recent report commissioned by the U.S. State Department and conducted by a consulting group, InterMedia. “Despite the incredibly low starting point, important changes in the information environment in North Korean society are under way.”

Tim Sullivan reported from both North Korea and Myanmar. Associated Press writer Aye Aye Win in Yangon and Todd Pitman in Bangkok contributed to this report.