Reasoning: Extreme Left, Propaganda, Conspiracy, Nationalism
Country: North Korea
World Press Freedom Rank: North Korea 180/180
Launched in 1945, Rodong Sinmun, formerly known as Chǒngro is the newspaper of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea’s. It is the main national daily and acts as the official mouthpiece of the party. Kim Jong-un is the Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea since 2012 and the grandson of Kim Il Sung the first leader of North Korea from 1948 to 1994. Kim Jong-un is serving as the third and current Supreme Leader of North Korea and he is the second child of Kim Jong-il (1941–2011). Rodong Sinmun is headquartered in Pyongyang, North Korea.
Funded by / Ownership
The Editor-in-chief of Rodong Sinmun, the organ of the Party Central Committee, is Ri Yong Sik. The editor-in-chief of the newspaper is appointed by the central committee in a plenary session.
Analysis / Bias
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranks North Korea 180 out of 180 countries (Last) in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index. RSF states that North Korea’s government is a “totalitarian regime that keeps its citizens in a state of ignorance.”
In review, most of its content is dedicated to leader Kim Jong-un, such as the “Supreme Leader’s Activity” section, which covers Kim Jong Un’s daily activities. Rodong Sinmun typically republishes stories from the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). Many of the news articles are verbatim copies of KCNA stories. For example, there is an article titled “Kim Jong Un Tours Singapore” that appeared in KCNA and with the same headline in Rodong Sinmun. Other articles are written by Rodong Sinmun journalists. Further, they often publish stories with emotionally loaded language such as “Children’s Union Members Are Masters of Future of Socialist Korea.”
Editorials usually offer praise for the Songun and Juche policy. Songun refers to North Korea’s military-first policy, and Juche refers to North Korea’s ideology of self-reliance, named by founder Kim Il-sung. A few quotes from the article reads “The great leader President Kim Il Sung, the red sun of Korea” and “Kim Jong Il is the prominent thinker and theoretician who developed in depth the Juche idea, peerlessly brilliant commander of Songun and shining star of world progressive mankind.[…] the nation with his unique Songun politics and consolidated the DPRK (North Korea) to be an invincible socialist fortress.” Another quote: “The valiant spirit and the immensely bright future of Juche Korea are inseparable from the nation-building feats of President Kim Il Sung who provided an eternal foundation for the nation’s prosperity in his lifetime.” Editorials also use extremely loaded language when North Korea is criticized, such as this: Hideous Provocation of Reptile Media. A quote from this article is not just emotionally loaded it is threatening: “It is the height of evil deed that can be done only by those villains who are steeped in hostility towards the DPRK to the marrow. The NHK should clearly understand the catastrophic aftermath which its false report about the DPRK can create, and make an apology to the Korean people on its knees.”
Rodong Sinmun is far Left biased based on North Korea’s politics of being a Juche Socialist State (Communist). A BBC article from 2000 describes how difficult life is in North Korea and still remains the same today. Essentially, Rodong Sinmun and all media in North Korea provide a rundown of Supreme Leader’s daily agenda, with a lot of flattery thrown in for good measure.”
Overall, we rate Rodong Sinmun a Questionable source based on Extreme Left-wing bias with the overt promotion of state propaganda and near 100% censorship of facts. (M. Huitsing 6/12/2018)