South Korea is adamant that it will not allow activists to drop copies of The Interview into North Korea via balloon. Speaking to reporters, ministry spokesman Lim Byeong-Cheol said: "If such a movement is detected in advance, the government will take necessary measures because it may threaten the security of residents there."
While South Korea is adamant that the activists, led by North Korean defector Park Sang Hak, are within their rights to send whatever they want, but also appealed for anyone involved to consider the safety of North Koreans who could be prosecuted for being caught in possession of the film. Foreign films are forbidden in the Hermit Kingdom, thought of as propaganda, and in 2013 there were reports that 80 people were executed for watching them. Although banned, portable DVD players have become popular in North Korea, easier to conceal from the authorities than regular ones.
Park Sang Hak runs an organisation called Fighters For A Free North Korea, a South Korea based group that aims to infiltrate North Korea with anti-Pyongyang information. Last year the group dropped 100,000 leaflets over the border via, prompting a brief bout of gunfire from North Korean soldiers, who made a surreal bid to shoot information out of the sky.
While "freedom of expression" is something to be cherished, so is the safety of people who live under an oppressive, dangerous and secretive regime. The South Korean government is right to be concerned for the safety of those over the border and wise to take care not to provoke the volatile North Koreans, who have already promised that Park will "pay in blood for his crimes".
Park may have told the Guardian that he will "keep sending leaflets into North Korea at the risk of my life", but what about the lives of those trapped inside North Korea?