Thursday, December 22, 2016

YOUTUBE Blocks Channel of NORTH KOREAN State News Network

We’ve talked about North Korea before, yes. Past articles have stressed just how isolated the country remains even in their new period of openness to (strictly regimented and guided) international tourism, and also the fact that NK’s computers share only a closed-door intranet that is mostly separated from the outside world. The reality also remains that major countries in the Asia-Pacific are concerned about the hermit nation’s continuing defiance of the world by carrying on with its nuclear testing in spite of God knows how many economic sanctions have been leveled upon it. The international community enforces these restrictions with a zeal that is often not equal to effectiveness, except in this instance.

According to Digital Trends, online streaming megabrand YouTube has shut down one of its  numerous channels last month for violating its terms of service. What’s unique about this particular YouTube channel is that it’s the official one used and updated by Korean Central Television, an all-news TV network in North Korea run by the autocratic government as their small-screen propaganda source.

The news broadcasts featured on its programs would almost always consist of the itinerary of North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un and his regular “guidance tours” of factories, farms and other facilities across his country; other times it reports updates on the military’s preparations towards its next new nuclear weapon launch test.

Not anymore though. The main page of KCT’s YouTube page now displays the note that it had been terminated – closed permanently – for violations of the site’s Community Guidelines. It can be debated whether any news or propaganda content shown by the channel could stand in violation of any terms set by YouTube; but the actual reason for its shutdown, if analysts are to be believed, is that the violations committed by KCT’s page was not against the mother site but on North Korea’s standing economic sanctions itself.

The thing is, on March of this year the US Treasury Department imposed a sanction that prohibited American companies from transacting business with the North Korean government’s Propaganda and Agitation Department, which happens to be the immediate controlling agency of Korean Central Television. This is to ensure that NK could earn no profit from business with these firms.

A YouTube channel like the one KCT had is able to generate revenue from its platform’s advertising system, part of which is earned by the channel’s owner, in this case North Korea. It therefore falls under existing international sanctions, thus obliging YouTube to shut down their operations as of November.

It should be noted however that the amount of money KCT was earning for NK through their YouTube channel isn’t really much by any stretch of the imagination, but rulings are rulings.

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