The trip was advertised on a student group website as an educative “week of sight seeing, meeting with ministers, [and] government officials,” The New York Times reported, but the students ran the risk of arrest and incarceration were the filming discovered.
“For us, this is a matter of student welfare — students were lied to, they weren’t able to give their consent,” Alex Peters-Day, general secretary of the LSE’s student union, told the BBC. She added: “They’ve used students essentially as a human shield in this situation.”
Students knew they would be accompanied by a journalist, but they were not aware that investigative reporter John Sweeney, his wife and a cameraman had orchestrated the trip to film a documentary, LSE Director Craig Calhoun wrote. Sweeney, who graduated from the LSE in 1980, allowed North Korean guides to call him “professor,” according to The New York Times.