North Korea Erased Its Official Online News Archives

Connor Simpson, The Wire
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Connor Simpson, The Wire
Dec. 16, 2013, 9:02 a.m.

Uncles aren’t the only thing be­ing purged from North Korea these days. It now ap­pears most of the coun­try’s state-run news archive has gone miss­ing.

NK News’ Chad O’Car­roll no­ticed that over 100,000 art­icles on the web­site for the state-run news agency, KCNA, went miss­ing over the last few days. An­oth­er ex­pert showed O’Car­roll that the state-run news­pa­per, Ro­dong Sin­mun, is also miss­ing roughly 20,000 art­icles. At least 35,000 of the miss­ing KCNA art­icles were the ori­gin­al Korean drafts, while the Ja­pan­ese, Eng­lish and Chinese trans­la­tions ac­count for the rest. With a few ex­cep­tions — usu­ally glow­ing art­icles about Pres­id­ent Kim Jong-un — the KCNA archives now be­gin on Oc­to­ber 1, 2013.

For ex­ample, search­ing for any­thing about nuc­le­ar weapons, or the United States, or Barack Obama will turn up ab­so­lutely noth­ing. All of the bois­ter­ous state­ments de­livered through the KCNA when North Korea threatened to bomb U.S. shores this year? Gone.

Just be­fore North Korea ex­ecuted Kim’s uncle, Jang Song Thaek, men­tions of his name were scrubbed from the news agency’s archives. That scrub­bing was a clue about what was to come. But the full news purge is a con­fus­ing move at a time when Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry is com­par­ing Kim to Sad­dam Hus­sein, and some pre­dict an­oth­er nuc­le­ar test is on the way.

Re­prin­ted with per­mis­sion from The Wire. The ori­gin­al story can be found here.

This art­icle was pub­lished in Glob­al Se­cur­ity News­wire, which is pro­duced in­de­pend­ently by Na­tion­al Journ­al Group un­der con­tract with the Nuc­le­ar Threat Ini­ti­at­ive. NTI is a non­profit, non­par­tis­an group work­ing to re­duce glob­al threats from nuc­le­ar, bio­lo­gic­al, and chem­ic­al weapons.

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