Authoritarian regimes dream through propaganda and so, to see what they’re fantasizing about, we regularly check in on what state-controlled media outlets have been churning out
Kim Jong-il’s pearls of wisdom are now enlarged
Get it while you still can! The state-run Korean Central News Agency is reporting that the the Workers’ Party of Korea Publishing House has unveiled an enlarged edition of volume 12 of the Selected Works of Kim Jong-il (the accompanying photo suggests Kim opted to go with the simple yet sleek cover design). Not surprisingly, KCNA is enamored with the book, noting that works such as “On Establishing the Revolutionary Creative Spirit and Lifestyle among Writers and Artistes” offer “perfect answers to issues arising in the production of literary and arts works.” In fact, KCNA, like many other state-controlled news outlets, has an entire section on its site devoted to its leader’s writings along with a section on “Kim Jong-il’s Activities” (see our previous coverageof KCNA’s ongoing series on Kim Jong-il looking powerful). Nestled below these headings, in smaller front, are less important sections like World and Economy.
Cuba talks out of both sides of its mouth
One of the limitations of this column is that we generally round up propaganda by consulting the English-language versions of state-run news sites, which may be directed at a foreign rather than domestic audience and tailored thusly. As we’ve noted before, the English-language versions of the Cuban News Agency and the Cuban Communist Party’s Granma newspaper obsessively cover the case of the “Cuban Five,” who were convicted by a U.S. court in 2001 of attempting to infiltrate U.S. military facilities in Florida (Cuba claims they’re political prisoners). But the Spanish-language versions of the same sites cover the case less relentlessly.
Today provides a case in point. While two of the top three stories on Granma English are about the case (see screenshot on right), Granma Español is running only one piece on the topic as a lead story. Three of the top six stories at the Cuban News Agency are about the Cuban Five, but the homepage of the Agencia Cubana de Noticias makes little mention of the case. In fact, the Cuban News Agency even has a section at the bottom of its homepage devoted to the Cuban Five. What replaces that section at the Agencia Cubana de Noticias? “Curiosities.”
Occupy Wall Street Occupies Iran
Back in August, we noted how Iran’s state-run media was relishing the opportunity to turn the tables on the country’s Western critics and chastise British officials for their handling of the London riots. Iranian news outlets appear equally gleeful this week in their coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement in the U.S. Press TV is covering the story from a variety of angles, playing the role of aggregator (a brief quotes The Nation‘s John Nichols talking about “long-term frustrations” in the U.S.), wire service (one article reads, “Quick Facts: ‘Occupy Wall Street‘”), and media critic. The mainstream media in the U.S. is ignoring the protests, Press TV declares:
Myanmar Sends Felicitations
We’ve discussed before how the state-run New Light of Myanmar‘s propaganda strategy is to essentially be boring. But the news outlet has taken boring to a new level today. The top four stories read, in order: “President U Thein Sein sends message of felicitations to President of ROK,” “President U Thein Sein sends message of felicitations to German President,” “President U Thein Sein sends message of felicitations to Prime Minister of ROK,” and “President U Thein Sein sends message of felicitations to German Chancellor.” The sleep-inducing nature of the coverage reminds us of the state-run Saudi Press Agency, which features one official sit-down after another.