North Korean propaganda changes its tune | 2018-06-23 |

North Korean propaganda changes its tune

BBC     23rd June, 2018 09:44:18 printer

North Korean propaganda changes its tune


Over the past few months, it seems, North Korea's propaganda has been changing its tune.


Banners and posters displayed across the capital and other towns have typically featured the US as a brutal imperialist aggressor and South Korea or Japan as Washington's willing allies.


But visitors to the country say they've seen those posters replaced by propaganda pushing economic progress and the inter-Korean rapprochement.


Leading newspapers in the tightly controlled country have also seen a shift in tone, a sign the country is starting to reflect its recent diplomatic thaw to the people.


US no longer an enemy?


The vast majority of North Koreans have very little access to information, so state media and propaganda have a far greater impact than elsewhere in the world.


With the US traditionally depicted as the main enemy, propaganda has not held back on showing how Pyongyang would respond, depicting missiles destroying the US or troops crushing invaders.


The posters are meant to inspire patriotism, build confidence in the leadership and a give sense that the struggles of life are for the greater glory of the nation.



After months of belligerent war threats, North Korea this year held historic summits with both South Korea and the US, pledging - albeit in vague terms - to give up its cherished nuclear arsenal and work towards peace.


In place of the aggressive rhetoric, there is now a focus on more positive messages, praising the Panmunjom Declaration signed at the inter-Korean summit, for example.


The changes in official policy are also reflected in the leading national newspaper.


There is no free press in North Korea. All media outlets are tightly controlled and anything published or broadcast is carefully vetted to be along official government lines.


Usually the paper would regularly run negative reports about the US, depicting Washington as a hostile force and listing US involvement in conflicts like Syria as a proof of American imperialism.


But leading up to the meeting on 12 June between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump, the normally fiery paper stopped being critical of the US.


Since the summit, it has featured picture-heavy coverage of the meeting, celebrating Mr Kim as a global statesman and peace maker.


Breaking with tradition, TV and newspapers also reported Mr Kim's recent trips - to China and Singapore - in almost real time, whereas previously, it would have taken days for North Koreans to read about it.