North Korean state media’s coverage of the arrest, trial and subsequent execution of Jang Song Thaek was “tantamount to mass intimidation,” Reporters Without Borders said on Thursday.
“Although only to be expected from one of the world’s worst dictatorships, such manipulation of news and information is disturbing,” the Paris-based group said in a statement.
“The extensive and indeed staged coverage of this execution coinciding with the hyped coverage of the second anniversary of Kim Jong-il’s death had the hallmarks of a intimidatory message to the entire Korean population and the international community.”
One of the things that made Jang’s arrest notable was the way it was More >
Time Magazine has named David Guttenfelder its top Instagram photographer of the year for his on-going series of photos that chronicle life in North Korea.
Guttenfelder, chief Asia photographer for the Associated Press, has made numerous journeys to the DPRK over the past several years and began directly chronicling the country through Instagram earlier this year when North Korean opened up its cellphone network to foreigners.
One of the most attractive aspects of the pictures, especially from the point of view of those who follow North Korea closely, is that Guttenfelder’s photographs capture little moments of life not often seen. There’s the announcer More >
The reports, in English, are reproduced below.
The first report ran on December 9 and covered the meeting of the political bureau of the central committee of the Worker’s Party of Korea, at which Jang was accused of a series of crimes against the state and led away by soldiers.
The political bureau of the party center committee convened the enlarged meeting and discussed the issue about the anti-party, counter-revolutionary factionalist acts of Jang Song Thaek. At More >
The United Nations Human Rights agency said it is following with concern news coming out of Pyongyang that Jang Song Thaek was executed this week.
“This underscores the arbitrary nature of the system in the DPRK and the absence of transparency and due process which is required for the rule of law,” said Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in a briefing in Geneva.
In Washington, the U.S. State Department said the execution illustrated “the values of the regime, their low regard for human life, what’s probably one of the worst human rights records in the world.”
Here More >
Korean Central Television broadcast a 17-minute report on the special military tribunal of the DPRK Ministry of State Security. The trial concluded by sentencing Jang to death.
Here’s the clip:
High-level purges in North Korea have been typically quiet affairs in the past. Rumors would circulate that someone had been removed from office, state media would be analyzed for mentions of the person’s name and confirmation would usually only come months or years later when they either reemerged or someone else appeared in a position they used to fill.
So the announcement through state media that Jang Song Thaek had been executed is quite stunning in its openness.
The Korean Central News Agency issued the following on December 13, 2013. The English version of the article was issued in two takes. The first take runs about half the length of the full story until the “(more)” below. The story was then updated with the second half.
So when the story originally ran, only the headline referred to Jang’s execution. Details and the speed at which it was performed did not appear until the update, which runs to some 2,749 words.
Here it is in full:
Traitor Jang Song Thaek Executed
Pyongyang, December 13 (KCNA) — Upon hearing the report on the enlarged More >
The reports vanished from the Korean-language portion of the site at around 5am Korean time on Monday (8pm GMT Sunday), said Frank Feinstein, a New Zealand-based researcher who runs the KCNA Watch service.
He said only the reports in which Jang was a central character were removed. Others that mentioned him in passing remained on the KCNA website. Feinstein was using his own index of KCNA articles as a reference to the original URLs.
“This More >
North Korea’s state media revealed in stunning detail on Monday the alleged infractions of Jang Song Thaek and showed still images of his being led from a Worker’s Party of Korea meeting by soldiers.
The reports, which are unprecedented for North Korea, came just less than a week after South Korea’s National Intelligence Service reported to lawmakers in Seoul that he had been removed from power.
Here’s how state TV made the announcement.
Still images of Jang being led away are shown around the 8:40 mark.
And here’s the same story in English, as broadcast on Voice of Korea. The news begins at the More >