North Korea Accuses CNN of Showing Fake Execution Video to Boost Ratings

Reuters reported a few hours ago that the government of North Korea has accused CNN of airing a fabricated video of a public execution in that country (hat tip to Drudge): “CNN earlier this month broadcast a documentary, ‘Undercover in the Secret State,’ which among other images showed a grainy clip of what it called a public execution by firing squad of a man accused of helping a refugee cross into neighboring China.”

Kim Jong Il’s government is not happy: “‘The video tape is full of sheer lies negating the popular and class nature and the democratic principle of the DPRK's laws and tarnishing its image from A to Z,’ the North's official KCNA news agency said in a commentary.”

On November 14, a Korean website, The Chosun Ilbo, published an article on this documentary along with the picture to the right:

"According to the cable broadcaster, dissidents used small digital cameras and camcorder phones as weapons in their fight to show the outside world what is really happening in the secretive country. Footage also showed a dissident defacing a Kim Jong-il poster to draw attention to growing internal opposition to the country's leader."

This past Tuesday, the Korea Times reported that the man who took these video images is a North Korean defector currently being held by the South Korean government:

“A North Korean defector whose secretly-taped scenes showed what he claimed were budding anti-regime activities in the Stalinist North entered Seoul last week and is currently under interrogation by South Korean authorities, according to an NGO official in Seoul Tuesday.

“The defector had secretly taken images of the North’s inside realities through tech-savvy equipment such as digital cameras, and part of the footage has recently aired on CNN, a U.S.-based cable news network, under the title ‘Undercover in the Secret State.’”

Yet, the North Korean government maintained that this is all a ratings stunt by CNN:

“‘CNN is losing popularity as the days go by although it had high audience rating in the world in the past,’ KCNA said. Much upset by this, CNN staged such poor farce to improve its image.’

“In the process, the U.S. broadcaster has been ‘reduced to a trumpeter and a political waiting maid for the U.S. administration,’ it said.”

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