Korean Central Television didn’t deviate from its typical coverage plan on Thursday and spent the day reporting on Kim Jong Un’s activities from a day earlier, so viewers were unaware of the outcome of his summit with Donald Trump until it signed on for broadcasting on Friday.
KCTV was on air from 1500 to 2030 on Thursday and broadcast four times a three-minute special news bulletin anchored by Ri Chun Hee that covered Kim’s dinner with Trump and his visit to the North Korean embassy in Hanoi.
As has been observed throughout the trip so far, the TV station chose not to illustrate the reports with still images, despite the images being present on the front pages of major North Korean newspapers.
So, while the DPRK-U.S. summit ended early, viewers in North Korea continued to see day-old news throughout Thursday. It wasn’t until they awoke on Friday that they heard the first reports on the summit, either through radio, newspaper or TV reports.
As Friday is the first day of the month, Korean Central TV began broadcasting at 0900 instead of the usual 1500 and the first order of business was the summit report.
Interestingly, the TV station didn’t use Ri Chun Hee, despite her being used for all the headline news from Kim’s Vietnam trip so far.
Instead it fell to one of the station’s other senior female anchors to announce that Trump and Kim had decided to continue talking.
The bulletin is scheduled to be broadcast again at 1300, 1700, 2000 and 2217 on Friday.
The switch from Ri to another anchor could be seen as a signal from the government that the news out of Vietnam was a little disappointing as Ri is only on-air these days to announce the biggest, most important stories.
Clearly, a decision to continue talks wasn’t quite enough success to warrant putting her back on screen.
It will be interesting to see if subsequent coverage from Vietnam, where Kim is spending two more days on an official visit, will make use of still images to illustrate the reports.
It will also be interesting to see how much of the post-summit documentary that KCTV is expected to air will focus on the meeting with Trump versus the rest of Kim’s activities in the country.
That is expected to air within one or two days after he returns.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured image: KCTV
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