Despite the acclaimed ‘IT revolution' in North Korea, there are still very few people with access to the Internet. So few, that studies gauging national percentages of Internet users, simply list North Korea as ‘not applicable'. Despite this, Pyongyang has created what can only be described as an online propaganda machine. Available in Korean, Chinese, Russian, Japanese and English, the site is an online compendium of a particularly North Korean form of cult worship centered on the ‘Dear Leader,' Kim Jong Il. It may be a serious cyber effort from Pyongyang, but for the rest of the world, it's downright hilarious. From horses and Chow Chows (little Chinese dogs) presented to the North Korean dictator, to paeans a new dam, it features everything on North Korea you always feared were true, but were too terrified to contemplate.
The site's layout leaves something to be desired and the translations are rather sketchy. Photo albums include ‘Paradise in Songun Era', ‘Animals Presented to Kim Jong Il and Sent by Him' (including horses, a bear; and a chow chow), and ‘Eternal Smile of the Sun'. There is a link to ‘Kim Jong Il: A Short biography,' which is in fact no shorter than a long novel. Article titles are self explanatory: ‘Kim Jong Il Inspects Several Production Units of KPA', ‘Kim Jong Il Inspects Construction of Power Station Dam' and ‘Kim Jong Il Enjoys Art Performance Given by Servicepersons of KPA Companies'. The font size is always 12.
One of the articles is about sanctions against North Korea.
It's called ‘Japan
must do what it should do'.
The most important part of North Korean propaganda is the idolisation of Kim Jong Il and his father Kim Il Sung. The people believe that they adore them and thus don't find the giving and receiving animal gifts as ridiculous, for example.
It might look stupid to outsiders, but the North Korean propaganda is extremely effective. It's only since hundreds of thousands of North Koreans escaped during the famine in the ‘90s that outside information began seeping into the country. Now, attitudes are beginning to change. Respect for the leader is finally dwindling."
Here are some examples of videos on the site. Enjoy!
This video, set in the mountains of the country, starts with, “Our people love the song: Our general is the son of partisans.’” It then goes on to explain why.
The album includes horses, a bear and this Chow Chow. However it can't be compared with his father's collection which boasts safari animals, wild birds, snakes and all sorts of baboons, (...some of them even superimposed. See monkey below).
Korean Central Television (KCTV) is the only chain available to North Koreans. It was launched in 1963 and broadcasts for five and a half hours each evening. Only 40% of the country has access to television, but the channel is also available internationally. It underwent an aesthetic revamp in 2005, but remains to contain only propaganda. Here is a typical emission:
Even children’s cartoons are used as vessels for propaganda. This children’s cartoon starts out relatively harmlessly. But in the second half, we see the illustration of a young boys dream: to battle against the Unites Sates with pencils.
This video was originally a slideshow. The material has been recycled to make a ‘modern version', as you can see.
Meet Kim Jong Il, leader, fighter, bringer of happiness, peace, good and joy...unparalleled by any other...