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Leading NK Daily Shows Multiple Photos of Leader

Posted December. 18, 2009 08:59,   


North Korea’s leading daily Rodong Shinmun showed an unprecedented number of photos of its leader Kim Jong Il in October and November, immediately before its surprise currency revaluation on Nov. 30.

His pictures once appeared in the daily more than 20 times in one day, but remained absent for a week from Dec. 1, the day after the revaluation.

It had been common for Kim’s photos to appear two or three times in the six-page daily, but this was the first time for Rodong to carry so many over a short period of time.

The newspaper had shown his photos more than four times per day over six days in October: five times Oct. 9; 13 times Oct. 21; four times Oct. 23; four times Oct. 24; five times Oct. 25; and five times Oct. 31.

Last month, the daily ran his photo multiple times per day over 10 days: 10 times Nov. 1; four times Nov. 2; 12 times Nov. 7; nine times Nov. 8; 12 times Nov. 21; 23 times Nov. 24; 19 times Nov. 25; 11 times Nov. 27; 13 times Nov. 29; and 28 times Nov. 30.

On Nov. 30, the day of the currency revaluation, the newspaper ran 59 pictures of Kim directing fruit farms along the Daedong River and 28 showing his face. It increased the pages containing full-page pictures without articles to 10.

This propaganda campaign apparently seeks to promote the communist regime’s solidarity to its people by showing Kim’s direction before the currency reform.

The newspaper had sometimes carried multiple photos of Kim. It had run several of his pictures for documentation purposes when he returned from unofficial visits abroad. On Feb. 17, 2001, Rodong carried nine pictures of him directing factories in North Pyongan Province on the first, second and third pages a day after his birthday.

The daily, however, made the unprecedented move of carrying some 20 pictures of him on the same day. Photos of Kim had been mostly taken on sites related to the economy since October.

Those photos showed Kim giving directives while at collective farms, factories and construction sites in an apparent ploy to highlight the achievements of North Korea’s communist economy.

Rodong also carried framed pictures of the late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung hung on sites where his son visited Oct. 24, Nov. 24-25, and Nov. 28. This seems to have been a message to the North Korean people not to get agitated over the drastic changes caused by Pyongyang’s new economic policy through showing photos of Kim Il Sung.

Kim Il Sung remains beloved by North Koreans and posthumously retains the title of president.

The second page of the daily’s Saturday edition carried the slogans “Our socialism, hurrah!” and “Following our general for 1,000 miles,” both of which looked they were manipulated by Photoshop.

Similarly, the North looks like it used Photoshop on the slogans “Hurrah for the great victory of military-first politics” and “Run like a storm at Heuicheon (a factory built in record time) speed” because they have differing levels of clarity.