In North Korea, an internet generation seems to have taken power. With the promotion of the only 27 years old Kim Jong Un to the unofficial position of official heir of the leader Kim Jong-il, the Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) has gone online.
For the first time we can enjoy the prose of North Korean propaganda in English (and Spanish) on the same day. So far we had to wait until translations showed up on the homepage of the organisation of North Koreans in Japan, the TechWatcher writes in his weekly column for the German edition of MIT Technology Review.
This is only the first of many new online advances of the reclusive regime, says IDC tech correspondent Martyn Williams, who runs the internet site North Korea Tech, and who was one of the first to break the news of KCNA’s endeavor.
A test of KCNA’s page reveals room for improvements. Thanks to an almost Google like minimalistic approach to design it loads fast and is easy to navigate. But under the hood it is still clumsy. Many links in the sub-sections lead into the digital Nirvana. And the helpful press review (in the newspaper section) list the entries chronologically, starting on April 23, 2001. To go to the newest one you have to scroll down a decade through almost a decade of links. At least, it feels this way. Other sections are also organized in the same way. And a search function is not included.
Having said that, the site rewards us with a deep glimpse in the way, the regime wants us as well as its citizen to see the world. The South Korean government is usually called “puppet-group”, the Americans are “jakals”, the Japanese Imperialists. But many news are quite prosaic, news agency like.
“Folk games, Amusements are increasingly popular” we learned on Tuesday, “Centanarians increase in DPRK” on Oct 14. And on Monday, it reported a heart warming story of the late Kim Il Sung, the “great president”. On one of his trips Kim saw children playing in buttonless clothes, and he grieved over the burdens of their mothers. Soon after his return to the capital he lowered the price for children clothes to relieve the peasants of some of their plight.