May 20, 2024

Premier League pirates: How North Korean TV skirts law to air the beautiful game

KCTV regularly shows sports despite lacking rights, even blurring ads and adding fake crowd noises to conceal source

When North Koreans turn on state television, they can expect to watch dry documentaries on the Kim family’s greatness, children’s cartoons extolling the virtues of patriotism and news reports promoting scientific advancements.

But sandwiched between the propaganda, it’s not uncommon for state broadcaster Korean Central Television (KCTV) to air international sporting events ranging from Premier League soccer games to French Open tennis matches — even though in many cases it doesn’t appear to have the rights to do so.

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