The North Korean government has detained and will expel part of the BBC’s news team in Pyongyang on Monday, according to the BBC’s breaking news service.
In addition to BBC Tokyo correspondent Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, South Korea’s Yonhap News adds that the team’s producer and cameraman were also detained and are on route to the airport.
Hayes, Maria Byrne and cameraman Matthew Goddard were all detained on Friday as they attempted to leave North Korea, the BBC reports. Hayes was questioned for eight hours and made to sign a statement.
The DPRK authorities found Hayes’ reporting disrespectful to leader Kim Jong Un, according to a tweet from CNN’s Will Ripley.
— Will Ripley (@willripleyCNN) May 9, 2016
The BBC Tokyo correspondent is currently in Pyongyang with a BBC team reporting on the visit of numerous Nobel Prize winners who were visiting the DPRK.
Other foreign journalists in the country are tweeting that a recent report on a trip to North Korean hospital caused the detention. There are around 130 foreign journalists currently in Pyongyang, covering the Workers’ Party Congress.
Some of Hayes’ earlier reports from the country also raised the ire of the North Korean authorities.
On May 6, the BBC published a video report of a visit to Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung University, where Hayes said a news report in front of a Kim Il Sung statue had offended their North Korean guides.
“So our minders are now rather upset with us because we tried to do a piece to camera in front of the statue of Kim Il Sung here, and they clearly felt that we said stuff that was not respectful to the Great Leader,” Hayes said during the report.
The BBC team was forced to delete the offending footage before they could leave the university grounds, the report adds.
“What exactly (Kim Jong Un has) done to deserve the title Marshal is hard to say. On state TV the young ruler seems to spend a lot of time sitting in a large chair watching artillery firing at mountainsides,” Hayes said in another news piece from Pyongyang.
Another BBC journalist John Sudworth was also reprimanded in another story published yesterday. Sudworth took a photo of a picture of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, but accidentally cropped out a portion of Kim Jong Il’s face.
“This is our leaders, Great Leaders,” a visibly annoyed museum guide says, before taking Sudworth’s cellphone.
Featured image: BBC News
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