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N.Korea’s Propaganda Machine Embraces Social Media

North Korea’s propaganda machine may be stuck in a political Pleistocene, but it has eagerly embraced social media to appeal to younger people.

There is still plenty of eccentrically worded anti-imperial propaganda, but there is now also a young YouTuber named Ri Su-jin who accompanies herself on the piano as she warbles about the “bountiful and happy life” in the isolated country.

And even North Korea state TV is no longer such a joke with lady announcers a little past the prime of life waxing ecstatic about the leader’s achievements. Observers believe that the modernizations reflect the influence of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his younger sister Yo-jong, who were educated in Switzerland.

This combination photo shows a North Korean news presenter in hanbok or traditional Korean dress (left) and a North Korean girl appearing in a YouTube video.

Two to three videos a week pop up now on YouTube channel “Echo DPRK.” There a young woman sporting a blouse and trench coat rather than the hanbok or traditional dress of older propaganda, holds a smartphone as she guides viewers through the street of Pyongyang in fluent English. The channel has more than 120,000 subscribers.

Another YouTube channel called “New DPRK” was launched in April and focuses on a seven-year-old girl named Ri Su-jin in Pyongyang. Often dressed in a dainty frock with a ribbon she describes her happy life in the North Korean capital as she plays the piano.

Her apartment building has an elevator and her living room a plush sofa and aquarium. After showing off a gift of school supplies, Su-jin vows to camera to “repay” the North Korean leader by becoming a “great person.”

The video has racked up close to 50,000 views, which is impressive since that it cannot be viewed in North Korea, which has no public internet access.

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