The North Korean Internet – What’s Really On It?

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North Korea’s internet access for its citizens is restricted, but it does have some websites available to people outside of the DPRK. On Tuesday, a list was revealed – and there are less than 30 websites on it. 

It was revealed by an engineer in the US – mostly propaganda and some ministry and tourism stuff, but there are also some recipes and films in there. All North Korean, of course.

Their main Domain Name System received repeated requests for access to all of the country’s internet domains by the engineer, and the server is meant to reject them. However it obliged, probably by mistake, on Tuesday, and the list was posted on Reddit. The sites were already known to analysts of North Korea but nobody knew the extent of their online presence. Click through to find out more about North Korea’s websites.

The websites have a lot of news about Kim Jong-un’s activities, like on rodong.rep.kp where there’s a section on what he might be doing on particular days. Recently he’s gone to a fruit farm and to a ground test for a new kind of rocket engine. Those websites are meant to make North Korea seem like any other member of the international stage, but we don’t know if any of it is actually true.

Rodong Sinmun - a North Korean news site available in English.
Rodong Sinmun – a North Korean news site available in English.

The websites take a long time to load and are very basic, updated infrequently (except for news sites – however these are still only state propaganda). They have minimal traffic and are not user friendly. They’re nothing like Western media sites, they don’t look polished or slick.

Despite this and somewhat ironically, they want everyone to know about their arts and culture. A food site called cooks.org.kp features famous recipes from Korea and lists of main restaurants in North Korea, including one called Pyongyang Dog Meat Restaurant – I’m sure you can guess its speciality.

 

cooks.org.kp - A North Korean recipe site.
cooks.org.kp – A North Korean recipe site

They have a film site, korfilm.com.kp – the Pyongyang International Film Festival is actually on right now and the types of films you can watch there are ‘art films, documentaries and animated movies‘.

korfilm.com.kp - The website of the Pyongyang International Film Festival
korfilm.com.kp – The website of the Pyongyang International Film Festival

However we still know nothing about their intranet, the closed system for citizens that does not connect to the internet. This is likely to tell us much more about the state than these websites ever could.

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Third year PAIR student and head of events. Also The Edge's live editor and 2016-17 opinion editor. Fan of cats, gigs and a tea lover - find me rambling about politics and cats @_Carly_May on Twitter.

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