Posts tagged Rodong Sinmun
The design of the website of North Korea’s main daily newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, was refreshed on Monday.
The new site has fewer pictures on the front page and leads with a list of stories.
And being North Korean, features detailing the work of Kim Jong Un receive top billing.
A closer look at the programming reveals it wasn’t the only part of the newscast that was given a new look.
The newspaper review, which is a staple of the early evening 5pm bulletin, also has a new graphics package and a much lighter musical intro. More >
The revelation by North Korean state media on Sunday that Pyongyang suffered a major construction accident underlines how strong the regime’s grip on information flow remains, despite cracks appearing in recent years.
The accident occurred on Tuesday, according to the domestic media reports, but the world didn’t hear anything about the incident until those first reports were published on Sunday. By then, the rescue efforts had been completed and, apparent from images, the site had already been cleared of all debris.
The reports were unclear about the exact accident and number of casualties, but it appears likely an entire apartment block collapsed causing many tens of deaths.
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 done in public. State TV, radio and newspapers devoted a considerable amount of time to denouncing him for what were at the time accused crimes. Later in the week, the media carried news of his trial, his apparent admission of guilt and his execution.
That was followed by an information purge that has seen thousands of articles removed from the websites of the state-run Korean Central News Agency and party-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper.
“This propaganda has highlighted the harshness of a regime that has not hesitated to execute one of the party’s most senior officials, a four-star general and uncle of the currently leader. Such an atmosphere of terror will weigh heavily on the little freedom of information remaining in such a closely-watched society,” Reporters without Borders said.
North Korea ranks at position 178 on the group’s press freedom index – one place from the bottom. The only nation ranked below the DPRK was Eritrea.
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 carried the news early on Friday, December 13, while the Rodong Sinmun newspaper devoted most of the second page of the newspaper to a report about the military tribunal that Jang faced.
The newspaper also carried two photographs alongside the article. One showed the three judges in the “special military tribunal of the DPRK Ministry of State Security” and another showed Jang, apparently in handcuffs, being held by two soldiers. It looks like he is attempting to walk and, like the images of him being arrested by soldiers, he has his head down.
As of time of writing, we’re yet to see what state TV makes of the whole affair.
It’s possible Korean Central Television might show different photos of the court of of Jang. The TV station was the one that first broadcast photos of the former top official being arrested at a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea.
The KCNA website has also not carried any photographs yet of Jang at the political bureau meeting or court.
Here are the Rodong pictures:
Regular readers of The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of North Korea’s Workers’ Party, might be forgiven for thinking the newspaper has a correspondent in South Korea. The newspaper, now available in English via its website, offers a page of inter-Korean news complete with photographs of demonstrations happening in Seoul.
But where are they coming from? A little investigating reveals the pictures are mostly cropped versions of photos taken by South Korean news organizations. They aren’t cropped to change the meaning of the image — they’re cropped to remove the logo of the news agency that holds the copyright.
Is the Rodong Sinmun’s website stealing photographs from South Korean news organizations?
Yonhap says it doesn’t have a deal with KCNA or the Rodong Sinmun for them to access Yonhap material. While it’s possible the Rodong Sinmun licensed the image from a Yonhap distributor, the cropping of the image and the Rodong’s similar use of images from other sources makes it likely the newspaper is pulling them off the web.
Take a look at the most recent headline that was accompanied by an image, “With Resolution to Put End to Subsidized Broadcasting,” from February 11. The link points to a page that doesn’t contain a story but has this image:
Now take a look at the same picture, side-by-side with a photograph from South Korea’s Voice of People:
Another recent example was the February 3rd story, “S. Korean Students Demanding Dissolution of Ruling Party,” that links to a cropped Yonhap news photograph.
The crop is a little difficult to see so here’s another example, this time accompanying the story “The South Korean Students Protest Against Ruling Party’s Cyber Attack” on January 28th:
It’s not just Yonhap Photos being used. Here’s a photo carried in the January 16 article “S. Korean Policiemen Clamping Down on Farmers in Struggle against FTA” and an un-cropped version with the “News.is” logo:
Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the Workers’ Party of Korea and North Korea’s main national daily, has launched an English-language website.
The page appears to have come online in the last few days but has a small archive of stories stretching back to December 1. It’s the first foreign language to be offered by the newspaper and comes just under 11 months since the launch of a Korean site.
Those with an interest in North Korean affairs will welcome the site but a quick review of the content initially offered shows much of it consists of stories already available via the Korean Central News Agency. Many of the news articles are verbatim copies of KCNA stories.
Some of the content appears to be original and is attributed to the newspaper or sometimes to a specific author.
Notably, the Enlgish-language Rodong Sinmun website doesn’t print the name of Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong Il or Kim Il Sung in a bold or large font as is done on other North Korean websites. The three names are given the large font treatment on the Korean version of the site so it’s probably only a matter of time before that’s added to the English site.
The website represents the latest push by North Korea’s state media to present its news and propaganda to an international audience. In 2011, KCNA added Chinese and Japanese news articles to its selection, the Voice of Korea shortwave radio service began offering audio clips in eight languages and the quasi-official Uriminzokkiri site also added a Russian version.
(Thanks to Steve Herman for the tip!)
North Korea’s state-run websites began on Saturday printing Kim Jong Un’s name in a style previously reserved for Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.
The Korea Central News Agency, Voice of Korea and Rodong Sinmun started using a heavier or larger font when spelling out his name.
Here’s how it looked on the KCNA website on Saturday. If you look closely you’ll see Kim Jong Un’s name appears slightly larger.
Not only had KCNA started using the additional coding, it had gone back through its database of stories and adjusted each instance of Kim Jong Un’s name.
And here are the Voice of Korea:
And Rodong Sinmun website:
Naenara, a portal operated by the Korea Computer Center, isn’t updated as frequently and still had Kim Jong Un’s name in the conventional font.
Back in July I explained how North Korean websites use a code in the page’s hypertext markup language (HTML) to name the names appear larger and more prominent. That had not been used for Kim Jong Un until Saturday.
The move coincided with the introduction of the title “supreme commander” for Kim Jong Un and a large commentary in the Rodong Sinmun.
“We will complete the great task of our songun revolution by upholding Comrade Kim Jong-un as our supreme commander, our general,” — Rodong Sinmun, Dec. 24, 2011.
The commentary was widely viewed as an indication that Kim Jong Un’s succession to become leader of North Korea is on track.
“The state-run media’s call for Kim Jong-un to lead the military suggests that, at least for now, he is on pace to take full control of the country,” — New York Times, Dec. 24, 2011.