Dom Joly’s phone confiscated on work trip to ‘totalitarian state’

Dom Joly encountered the strict rules of a totalitarian state when he touched down in North Korea and instantly had his phone and other personal items confiscated. The comic and travel writer was told he could not have access to phone calls until he left the country.

“It’s a totalitarian state that doesn’t like you taking any photos or communicating with anyone while you’re there,” he explained to

“At the airport, they actually take your phone away!”

He added that travellers are also obliged to hand in any books “that might be considered problematic” before hitting the country’s streets.

“All [your belongings] get put into an envelope in front of you and taped up,” he continued.

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Dom was in for a surprise when his visit to the country ended and it was time to reunite with his phone.

“When [the envelope] was handed back to me, the tape had been cut. Someone had obviously been through it,” he exclaimed.

However, he joked: “I don’t think they’d have got anything, apart from lots of pictures of me with my Labradors!”

North Korean officials are said to be gravely concerned about Christians entering the country with a Bible, as the country’s laws strictly prohibit carrying one.

There have been reports of arrests and brutality directed at those who disobey the rule.

Meanwhile, blue jeans are also sanctioned in the country.

It’s not just tourists who have their phone use restricted, as even North Korea’s citizens face a ban on making international calls using the country’s popular mobile phone service.

The internet is also restricted, although that’s far from the first time Dom has faced a sanction on his access to the online world.

“The most unusual place I ever went online was [Iranian capital] Tehran. It puts the fear of God into you!” he confided.

“If you try to access anything they disapprove of, a very threatening sign comes up. It can be anything.

“They block music sites that show mild nudity, pornographic sites [and] various art sites that show watercolour nudes and sculptures are definitely a problem for them. Sculptures are their biggest fear!”

He revealed that he’d been fearful of someone in authority knocking on his hotel room to “get” him after stumbling upon one of the threatening notifications over his internet use.

Despite all the sanctions, Dom jokingly confessed that he thinks some people would actually be better off without access to social media.

He named Piers Morgan, claiming he has “a bee in his bonnet about powerful women” and is prone to bouts of “verbal diarrhoea”.

Others that he thinks should be forbidden from accessing the internet include controversial, self-proclaimed misogynist influencer Andrew Tate, who he declares should be locked up “and have the key thrown away”.

Meanwhile, he would sanction Jeremy Clarkson, too – but just for a couple of weeks.

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