NK Insider is an online news platform that offers a unique perspective on North Korea through the lens of its own people. With a commitment to providing accurate and insightful information, NK Insider features news, informed analysis, and op-eds curated and presented by North Koreans themselves. This platform serves as a bridge for the world to gain a deeper understanding of the intricacies within North Korea, shedding light on various aspects of its society, politics, and culture directly from those who call it home. By amplifying the voices of North Koreans, NK Insider strives to foster a more nuanced and comprehensive understanding of the region, contributing to a global dialogue on one of the world’s most enigmatic nations. Founded by North Korean defector Seongmin Lee, NK Insider is an in-house news entity at the Human Rights Foundation.

For questions or media inquiries, please contact us at contact@nkinsider.org.


Ahn Chan-il, Writer
Chan-il is a North Korean defector and the Founder and Executive Director of the World North Korea Research Center. He oversees the center’s mission to serve as a prominent think tank dedicated to North Korean studies. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Korea University, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in political science from Konkuk University. 

Era Seo (alias), Writer
Era is a North Korean defector and an experienced journalist who offers a unique perspective on one of the world’s most secretive nations. Having escaped the oppressive regime, Era has leveraged her keen understanding of North Korean society to become a beacon of truth. Through her extensive network of in-country reporters, she maintains real-time communication with sources inside North Korea, providing unparalleled insights into the ground realities of the closed society.

Jang Seiul, Writer
Seiul is a former North Korean soldier, Seiul served in the North Korean People’s Army (KPA), including the 9th Corps. After completing his 10 years of military service, he taught mathematics at Cheongjin Mining and Metallurgy University. In 2008, he defected to South Korea, where he founded the National Association of North Korean Defectors, an NGO that aims to promote democratization in North Korea and improve human rights. He majored in computer technology at Pyongyang University of Automation, a top state institution known for cyber training and producing hackers for the KPA.

Kang Chol-hwan, Writer
Chol-hwan is a North Korean defector and the author of ‘The Aquariums of Pyongyang.’ Born in Pyongyang, North Korea, he was sent to and spent ten years in Yodok Concentration Camp following the purge of his grandfather. After escaping to South Korea, he exposed North Korean political prison camps to the world. In 2007, Cholhwan founded the North Korean Strategy Center to help bring about democratization in North Korea through the dissemination of external information and improved human rights. He graduated from Hanyang University and previously worked as a journalist specializing in North Korean affairs at Chosun Ilbo.

Kim Dong-sik, Writer
Dong-sik is the author of “No One Reported Me – the Story of an Agent from the North” and founder and director of the KAS Consultancy, an NGO based in Seoul, Korea. While in North Korea, he worked at the Department of the DPRK’s Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea focused on South Korea for 15 years. The mission of the department (대남공작부서) was to carry out various espionage activities in South Korea. During this time, he carried out two missions in the South for which he received the title of Hero of the Republic and the National Flag Medal, 1st Class. Originally coming from a construction background, he also had various other experiences in North Korea, ranging from the chairman of a youth league and the general secretary of a factory to the director of a district party, among others. He graduated from Kim Jong Il Politics and Military University in North Korea and received a doctorate in North Korean studies in South Korea.

Kim Eun-ju, Writer
Eun-ju is a North Korean defector and the author of ‘A Thousand Miles to Freedom.’ She currently works as a social cooperation officer and researcher at the EUM Research Institute, contributing regularly to research on North Korea and defectors. Eunju holds a master’s degree in sociology from Korea University.

Kim Heung-kwang, Writer
Heung-kwang is the representative of NK Intellectual Solidarity, an NGO based in Seoul, South Korea. Previously, he served as the chairman of the quarterly magazine North Korean Village, chairman of the board of directors of Samheung North Korean Defector Children’s School, and a policy advisory member of the Ministry of National Defense in South Korea. Before defecting to South Korea in 2004, he was a professor at the Hamheung Communist College in North Korea. He graduated from North Korea’s Kim Chaek University of Technology and received his doctorate from South Korea’s Hansae University Graduate School.

Kim Kwang-jin, Writer
Kwang-jin is a former insider of North Korea’s secretive regime. Before his defection, Kim worked for North Korea’s overseas banking operations in Singapore. Since his defection, he has dedicated his life to exposing the underhanded financial practices of the North Korean government. He currently serves as the director of the Center for North Korea Human Rights of the Institute for National Security Strategy in Seoul, Korea.

Lee Jia(alias), Writer
Jia defected from North Korea in search of basic freedoms, including the right to travel and freely express herself. Her identity as a North Korean has given her a sense of responsibility to represent the voices of her family and hometown friends and is also the reason she has chosen to work as a journalist.

Shin Yong-geon (alias), Writer
Yong-geon defected from North Korea in 2020. Before his defection, he held positions in various state-run institutions in North Korea, including the military, prosecution office, state security agency, and later, the trade office. Later in his life in North Korea, he was imprisoned for creating and spreading content considered anti-regime. He managed to escape with manuscripts of his work and plans to publish them in the near future.

Zane Han (alias), Writer
Mr. Han is a defector from North Korea. Before defecting in 2022, he worked at a state-run North Korean company based in Russia. Prior to his assignment in Russia, he had worked at the external affairs department of a company affiliated with the DPRK’s Escort Bureau. He graduated from Pyongyang University of Architecture.

Jin Haeon, Translator
Haeon is a freelance translator and game business specialist. He graduated from the Seoul Institute of the Arts, and has recently been translating films and works related to human rights. For the HRF, he translated a speech about North Korean human rights at the Oslo Freedom Forum in Taiwan. He continues to translate and spread messages to improve human rights.

Seongmin Lee, Director
Mr. Lee is the director of the Korea Desk at the Human Rights Foundation. He manages NK Insider, and Flash Drives for Freedom. Born and raised in North Korea, Lee later defected to South Korea. He received his bachelor’s in political science from Columbia University and a master’s in international security policy and management from Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).


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