The Man Who Wasn't There? North Korean Media Begins Editing Executed Leader Out of History.

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 16 2013 8:24 PM

After Execution of Kim Jong Un’s Uncle, North Korean Media Begins Editing Him Out of History

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North Korean media are deleting executed Jang Song-Thaek, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's uncle, out of archived news coverage.

Photo by JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images

Last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un showed his potential from brutality, executing his second in command in what’s thought to be a political purge in Pyongyang. Adding to the viciousness of the killing is the fact that the executed man, Jang Song Thaek, was also his uncle and mentor in government after he took over after Kim Jong Il’s death two years ago.

North Korea’s state run English-language news site, KCNA, didn’t waste any time branding Jang Song Thaek a traitor and even worse, writing: “despicable human scum Jang, who was worse than a dog, perpetrated thrice-cursed acts of treachery in betrayal of such profound trust and warmest paternal love shown by the party and the leader for him.”

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Now North Korean media are going one step further and erasing Thaek’s existence in their news archives. Here’s how they’re going about it, via the Guardian.

North Korea’s state media have erased almost their entire online archives since the execution of Kim Jong-un's uncle Jang Song-thaek. The removal of tens of thousands of articles is the largest deletion ever carried out by the official KCNA news agency and the Rodong Sinmun newspaper. Several reports mentioning Jang had already been edited to remove references to him and other aides, and footage had been cut so that it no longer included him. But subsequently all articles from before October 2013 appeared to been removed from KCNA's North Korea-hosted site. It is unclear whether they will be reposted at some point or have disappeared for good.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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