North Korea Attempts To Turn South Korean Data On Its Head

New videos published by Uriminzokkiri use South Korean data and broadcast footage to undermine its neighbor
January 18th, 2013

New anti-South Korea videos published by Uriminzokkiri (우리민족끼리) show North Korean propagandists attempting to turn South Korean data and broadcast material on its head to illustrate just how bad life is in South Korea.

One 3 minute video clip entitled,“President Lee and the People’s New Years Talk”, presents South Korea’s outgoing President Lee Myung Bak talking with three “average” South Koreans about the problems facing their country. Touching upon unemployment, high suicide rates, and a stagnant economy, the video provides a logical presentation and a carefully phrased selection of slides that portray a convincing argument when compared with North Korea’s propaganda of the past.

While previous propaganda efforts presented a grossly distorted view of life in South Korea, the problems each Baeksong (백성: people) reports in the latest video are not completely untrue. And the timing of the release is well made, coming just one week after South Korean media reported its own concerns about slow economic growth and high unemployment rates, especially among young professionals and recent graduates.

Vintage anti-South Korea propaganda

A second video released by Uriminzokkiri went a step further this week to try and demonstrate just how bad the economy in South Korea is, by producing a news report video that focused exclusively on the ‘pitiful’ high unemployment rate among South Korean youth. That one used bootlegged clips from mainstream South Korean broadcasters like SBS, MBC, and YTN to prove the point, even though the footage itself indirectly showcased the modern and affluent lifestyle that nearly all South Koreans lead.

While the tactics used by North Korea’s propagandists are certainly evolving, it remains unclear what effect videos such as these may have on either South or North Koreans. In the North, knowledge of South Korea’s affluence is rife due to increasing information inflows that speak the truth of a modern democracy just south of the DMZ.  For its part, access to Uriminzokkiri videos is impossible in South Korea due to the controversial National Security Law, meaning few people can watch the material.

Urimzokkiri’s online presence is followed by several thousand users on Twitter and Facebook, while its YouTube videos routinely pull in views in the low hundreds.

“When the poor distressed people are killing themselves and when they shout out for price stabilization, abolishment of irregular employment, half priced tuition fees in the streets and markets with our stone strong fist out in the air, I mean even when it’s such a situation, can you say that you have a bi-pride and self-respect to that nation?

“When there are 3.9 million unemployed citizens wandering around the streets…How can you, President Lee, say that South Korea has become a good, happy land to live in?”

“You mean they want to learnabout how South Korea has become the number 1 country when it comes to suicide rates?”


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About the Author

Chad O'Carroll

Chad O'Carroll has written on North Korea since 2010 and writes between London and Seoul.