December 09, 2023

Spurious Statistics or Spurious Journalism?

Most of us understand reporting on North Korea can be difficult. The majority of internal information is considered a state secret, media access is extremely limited, and its people rarely speak to outsiders (and when they do its only they're accompanied by minders). However, these difficulties seem to have created an unfortunate ‘anything goes’ policy towards reporting on the DPRK. Often this  articulates in an almost ‘comedy’ style reporting of North Korea (especially regarding its leaders) or through articles that demonstrate a lack of even  basic fact checking (as NKNews recently highlighted).  Now, The Economist  enters the fray, with an article entitled "In praise of North Korea and Uzbekistan", showing another of the risks when reporting on the DPRK, - suspicion to the point of bias.

In dealing with North Korea there are of course many morally difficult decisions. Politicians and diplomats regularly face these: how to deal and talk with a nation without legitimizing its actions? What concessions should be made to improve the life of the North Korean people, and when does help become a step too far?