NORTH KOREA: One Does not Simply Ignore a Collapsed Building

RYAN LIPPERT WRITES – The recent collapse of an apartment building in North Korea may reveal how the Hermit Kingdom’s media works.

A large apartment complex recently collapsed in Pyongyang, but the national media made no mention of the incident until five days after the fact. While nobody knows why the media waited several days to inform the public about this incident, one thing is certain. Clearly, waiting to release any information about the collapse would have given the government plenty of time to alter the story in a way that makes Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un look good.

When the national news outlet finally reported on the incident they released a formal apology and showed Kim Jong Un mourning. They also confirmed that people were indeed hurt or killed, but failed to provide exact details. In fact, South Korean news sources have released clearer information, suggesting the deaths were due to there being 100 families in the complex. 

The North Korean media’s version of the story implies that the government is attempting to portray Kim Jong Un as a leader who truly wants the best for his citizens and has no tolerance for incompetence. Andrei Lankov, an expert on North Korea, asserted that this is just another example of how the government manipulates its country’s news, facilitating further control over the people. In turn, this makes it easier for injustice to remain a part of everyday life.

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