Phyongchon-gate and what it means for North Korean propaganda | NK News
June 15, 2024

Phyongchon-gate and what it means for North Korean propaganda

"North Korea is changing its public image, domestically, and this approach is a defining trait of the new leadership team under Kim Jong Un"

North Korea’s state media, Rodong Sinmun, recently reported on “a serious accident in the construction site in Phyongchon District, Pyongyang on May 13,” and on subsequent rescue operations. Senior public officials were cited by name and took responsibility for the accident. This article (or “Phyongchon-gate”) is unusual in that North Korea media rarely reports publicly on errors attributed to the government. Even more rarely has it publicly attributed these errors to specific government officials.

Some commentators link this to an attempt by North Korea to contrast its efforts against South Korea’s Sewol Ferry Disaster, while others claimed that North Korea couldn’t hide the accident from foreigners, and needed to seize the media initiative. Of course, the fact that the accident happened on May 13 (5 days earlier), and is only known to global media through North Korea’s announcement, calls into question the latter claim.

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