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Fact Check: Alleged NK Threat to Nigerians, Who Owns @DPRK_News Account?

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peter oluka
Kim Jong-un of North Korea
Kim Jong-un of North Korea

By now, you must have heard or read about the alleged warning from the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) that Nigerians should stop making mockery of the Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un or “lest they pay a heavy price”.

Fact check shows the first time Nigeria seemingly made statement on the rationale behind North Korea missile tests was on February 2016.

A report by Leadership Newspaper quoted by several other platforms with the caption: ‘Missile Test: Nigeria Warns North Korea Not To Threaten World Peace’ quoted a statement credited to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as warned the North Korean Government to abide by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1718 which requires it to suspends all activities related to its ballistic missile programme.

You can read: http://venturesafrica.com/story/nigeria-warns-north-korea-not-to-threate... https://www.deltabreed.ng/2016/02/11/missile-test-federal-government-of-... https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/08/north-korea-nuclear-capability-threa.... Full report as culled: http://nigeriabreakingnews.com.ng/missile-test-nigeria-warns-north-korea.... Though, the report seems unavailable on Leadership’s website anymore.

Recall, in 2016, North Korea officially announced it was blocking Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and South Korean websites in a bid to further control access to outside information.

The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications made the announcement, with very few North Koreans have internet access and if they do are limited to a sealed-off, government-sanctioned intranet.

The restrictions make it more difficult for visitors or the small community of foreign residents in North Korea to post real-time information about the country to the outside world.

Fast forward to September 2, 2017, a parody account parodying North Korea issued a warning to Nigerians.

The news service from supposed the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK), took to its twitter handle @DPRK_News to issue the warning.

It said: “Impudent peoples of Nigeria are warned against mockery of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un, lest they pay a heavy price.”— DPRK News Service (@DPRK_News) September 3, 2017

North Korea and its leader had been top on the news for its nuclear programme with the most recent being its successful test of a Hydrogen Bomb which many World leaders have condemned.

However, no reference was given to the alleged mockery of the North Korean Leader by Nigerians.

But, Nigeria CommunicationsWeek’s fact check shows the twitter handle does not bear the verification icon of twitter as an officially verified handle hence it calls for questioning.

According to Gizmodo.com on May 1, 2015 @DPRK_News account was created in July, 2009, which has probably helped the account seem somewhat plausibly official to many.

“Some of the tweets are absurd, but precisely zero percent of them are funny. Which probably means that this, ‘parody’ account will be with us for many years to come. Let’s just hope media outlets finally get the message that it’s fake so it can fade into obscurity”, the platform reported.

Similarly, Justin Rohrlich writing on ‘The Men Behind the Infamous Fake North Korean Twitter Account’, categorically puts off the twitter account. “The DPRK News Service is not actually the DPRK’s news service—but it’s the closest peek behind the curtain we may get”.

“In fact, the DPRK News Service, which first tweeted in July 2009, is the work of a West Coast data analyst and a North Carolina attorney who also blog at Popehat.com, a self-described ‘group complaint about law, liberty, and leisure’ started in 2004 by former federal prosecutor Ken White.

“The pair, Derrick (data analyst) and Patrick (attorney), prefer not to reveal their last names publicly, going by, variously, Patrick Popehat, Derrick Popehat, Patrick Nonwhite, @NonWhiteHat, and @NinjaDerrick. They shared their thoughts on this latest episode with The Daily Beast, via email”.

Even washingtonpost.com lashed out on the twitter account users, “The statements that come out of the North Korean propaganda machine often seem like parody, with denunciations of ‘imperialist puppets’ and ‘running dogs’ and threats to turn enemy countries into a ‘nuclear sea of fire.’

“That means that many people fall for the outlandish statements put out by DPRK News Service, a satirical Twitter account with an uncanny ability to replicate the tone and peculiar vocabulary of Pyongyang’s agitprop department. (DPRK is the abbreviation of North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.) A bunch of media outlets have also fallen for the account, including Newsweek, Fox News, BuzzFeed and, ahem, The Washington Post”.

 

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