North Korea’s propaganda goes online: terrifyingly funny

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 new site

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'.

Extract:

Under the circumstances, however, the Korean people have been expediting the construction of a prosperous, powerful nation their own way, thus displaying their faith and temper to the world. Even if Japan extends the sanctions for six months or decades, it will never frighten the Korean people. It will do nothing but reveal the poor position of the Japanese reactionaries, political greenhorns, who cannot but employ such a bungling step as the sanction. It is no better than a bubble before a big rock."

 

Commentary from Eun Kyoung Kwon, international team manager of the online version of the Daily NK newspaper, which is written by ex-North Korean journalists

This site is the most recent form of propaganda used by North Korea. It's designed only for foreigners- especially South Koreans. They hope to win over their southern neighbours so that when they have the opportunity they will be able to occupy the country with inside support. This kind of propaganda has been around since the creation of the country. However, the general public will never be allowed to have access to the Internet, so this site will remain external propaganda.

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."

Post a question to our Observer Eun Kyoung Kwon on his profile page.

 

Bright prospect of reunification opens under the ideal of ‘By our nation itself’ in 2003

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.

Showing off presents

Photo album entitled: ‘Animals Presented to Kim Jong Il and Sent by Him'

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).

Get your five (hours of brainwashing) a day

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:

Posted 29 September 2007

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.

Posted 27 December 2006

The extent of the idolisation of Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung

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...

Posted 12 December 2006

Comments

And North Korea is the only

And North Korea is the only country in the world which still cannot operate a CCTLD (They don't have a .nk). But 50 % of the population doesn't have access to electricity either. So I guess that would come first...

They do have their own

They do have their own domain, it's .kp, a google search on that brings up only 2 sites; www.naenara.kp & www.kcce.kp

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