Posts tagged Apple
The app, iJuche, was developed and published in late 2013 and was highlighted on NorthKoreaTech earlier this week. That publicity was apparently enough to get it blocked.
“I just got a call from a person at Apple informing me that iJuche has been found to be in violation of South Korea’s “National Security Law” and has been removed from the South Korean App Store,” said Peter Curtis, the developer of the app.
Users in South Korea that have already downloaded a copy of iJuche, or those with App Store subscriptions in other countries, should still be able to access news through the app, but new users won’t find it available for download in the Korean App Store.
South Korea’s National Security Law is a decades-old law that bans anti-state acts that endanger national security. In recent years, this has been used to ban the redistribution of North Korean propaganda on the Internet.
That means many websites from North Korean and those sympathetic to the country are blocked from local Internet users. It’s also been used to prosecute local Internet users who re-distribute North Korean content, sometimes by simply posting it on a website.
The law has many critics who maintain it restricts freedom of speech and doesn’t belong in a modern, developed society like the South Korea of today.
To-date, most of the sites and services blocked under the law have been those in Korean, although late last year a portion of the NK News website was also cut off from South Korean Internet connections.
KCNA Watch, a service developed by New Zealand-based Frank Feinstein, collates the daily output of KCNA from its website and makes it easy to navigate and search. It’s often easier to find articles on KCNA Watch than through the official KCNA website, and Feinstein’s site maintains the original versions of stories.
The importance of that feature was highlighted last month when KCNA deleted hundreds of articles mentioning Jang Song Thaek, the purged uncle of Kim Jong Un. The articles remain available through KCNA Watch.
The podcast is advertised on the front page of the website with a link that jumps to an Apple iTunes page. The page currently carries ten episodes of the podcast, which is entirely in Korean and combines spoken word with music.
The episodes were uploaded between February 20 and 23 this year and range between 3 minutes and 22 minutes long. There haven’t been any updates in the last month.
It’s classified in the “News and Politics” section of iTunes’ podcasts and doesn’t appear to have attracted any listener reviews yet.
Apple requires podcasts to be approved before they appear in iTunes and it’s not clear if the Uriminzokkiri content was vetted by Apple U.S. or Korea. Apple did not respond to a request for comment.
Uriminzokkiri has been operating around 10 years and is believed to be based in Shenyang, which is close to the North Korean border. The site, which is registered to a company called “Korea 615 Shenyang,” has strong links with North Korean and carries much of the output of the state media machine and some articles of its own.
It’s proved to be the most social-media aware of all sites carrying official news.
Uriminzokkiri operates a Twitter feed with over 13,000 followers, has racked up more than 5 million video views on YouTube, and posts images from North Korea to Flickr. The podcast is advertised alongside these on the site as it’s latest way to push North Korean propaganda to the world.
It hasn’t navigated the social media space without problems.
In 2010, it attempted to gain a Facebook following but Facebook twice deleted its account. The company said it zapped the account because it was created as a personal account and not a “page,” which is required of all organizations on the site.
Most recently it achieved short-lived success with two propaganda videos. One included footage from a video game of New York City in flames and the other used a soundtrack from a different game. After a brief burst of life, the two videos were the subject of YouTube takedown requests by the copyright owners, but not before they amassed thousands of views as a result of the publicity surrounding them.