Boys sentenced for listening to pop music – level 2

24-01-2024 07:00

North Korean authorities released a video which shows the public sentencing of two 16-year-olds to 12 years of hard labor for watching Korean pop music.

The footage features the teenagers in Pyongyang convicted of consuming South Korean movies and music videos. Since the implementation of a 2020 ‘anti-reactionary thought’ law, North Koreans face heavy penalties if they listen to South Korean music or watch South Korean movies.

The sentence acts as a warning to people and reflects the government’s worries about the influence of South Korean culture in North Korean society.

Difficult words: sentencing (declaring the punishment or penalty for a crime), convict (to find someone guilty of doing something wrong or illegal), implementation (putting a decision or plan into effect).

You can watch the original video in the Level 3 section.

What potential impact could the harsh sentencing of two teenagers for watching South Korean pop music have on North Korean society?


News in Levels is designed to teach you 3000 words in English. Please follow the instructions

How to improve your English with News in Levels: 


  1. Do the test at Test Languages.
  2. Go to your level. Go to Level 1 if you know 1-1000 words. Go to Level 2 if you know 1000-2000 words. Go to Level 3 if you know 2000-3000 words.


  1. Read two news articles every day.
  2. Read the news articles from the day before and check if you remember all new words.


  1. Listen to the news from today and read the text at the same time.
  2. Listen to the news from today without reading the text.


  1. Answer the question under today’s news and write the answer in the comments.


  1. Choose one person from the Skype section.
  2. Talk with this person. You can answer questions from Speak in Levels.


Stock images by Depositphotos