October 14th, 2010
North Korea’s official news agency has apparently opened a website in English and Spanish, in the country’s latest bid to boost online propaganda. A site under the name of the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), with articles in both languages, was seen Thursday at http://188.8.131.52. The English version shows leader Kim Jong-Il and other officials at a huge military parade staged last Sunday in Pyongyang.
In a highly unusual move, the North invited selected foreign journalists and television crews to witness the event and broadcast it live. The parade was apparently intended to showcase Kim Jong-Un, the country’s heir apparent and Kim’s youngest son, who appeared near his father at the event.
It could not be confirmed that it was KCNA itself which had opened the website. No e-mail contact address was given. North Korea already operates an official website (uriminzokkiri.com) that carries articles from state newspapers, magazines and broadcasting stations. Meanwhile, KCNA’s content in English and Spanish has been hosted on the website kcna.co.jp by the Tokyo-based Korea News Service.
The North is one of the world’s most controlled states where few have free access to computers, let alone the Internet. But it has strengthened web propaganda by opening accounts at popular websites like YouTube and Twitter.
The North has used its Twitter account, opened under the name @uriminzok, to post links to stinging statements condemning South Korea and the United States on its official website. It also opened an account with the global video-sharing website YouTube, uploading clips praising the isolated communist state and denying allegations that it sank a South Korean warship
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