A BBC reporter and his team were being expelled Monday from North Korea after officials there said his "disrespectful" reports "spoke ill of the system and the leadership of the country."
According to The Associated Press, BBC correspondent Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, producer Maria Byrne and cameraman Matthew Goddard were detained Friday at the airport as they were trying to leave North Korea after covering a group of Nobel laureates' visit to the country. Wingfield-Hayes told the BBC that he went through eight hours of questioning and was forced to sign a statement.
“North Korean officials made it very clear they did not like the contents of his reports,” fellow BBC reporter John Sudworth said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “It was a huge amount of pressure to find himself under.”
North Korea National Peace Committee Secretary-General O Ryong Il said Wingfield-Hayes was no longer welcome in North Korea and will never be allowed into the country again.
In one report, Wingfield-Hayes described a visit to a North Korean hospital.
"Everywhere we go is oddly devoid of any 'real' looking people," he wrote. "The hospital is virtually empty. In one room, a group of tiny pajama-clad children are exercising on gym equipment designed for adults.
"They look bemused, and so are we."
Wingfield-Hayes also questioned dictator Kim Jong-un's military experience, writing, "What exactly he's done to deserve the title Marshal is hard to say. On state TV, the young ruler seems to spend a lot of time sitting in a large chair watching artillery firing at mountainsides."