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North Korea bans foreign envoys from owning media critical of regime

Pyongyang had specifically banned content that slanders the North Korean state and the “Supreme Leader,” North Korea’s title for Kim Jong Un.

By
Elizabeth Shim
Posters of The Interview hang inside The Theatre at Ace Hotel at the world premiere of the motion picture comedy in Los Angeles on December 11, 2014. Foreign diplomats in Pyongyang are now banned from owning items critical of Kim Jong Un. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Posters of "The Interview" hang inside The Theatre at Ace Hotel at the world premiere of the motion picture comedy in Los Angeles on December 11, 2014. Foreign diplomats in Pyongyang are now banned from owning items critical of Kim Jong Un. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, July 21 (UPI) -- Diplomats in Pyongyang are no longer allowed to retain possession of media critical of Kim Jong Un or the North Korean regime, according to a new ordinance.

Britain's Foreign Office said the missive was issued on June 26 and applies to all foreign embassies and international organizations with a presence in North Korea's capital, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

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In its recently published North Korea human rights report, the British government said Pyongyang had specifically banned content that slanders the North Korean state and the "Supreme Leader," North Korea's title for Kim Jong Un.

Content includes photographs, movies and literature in various formats: books and magazines, as well as files saved on mobile phones, computers or flash drives, Voice of America reported.

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Britain denounced the ban and called Pyongyang's move a violation of international standards of human rights, and criticized North Korea for not taking more responsibility.

In March, the Foreign Office had issued a report on human rights and democracy where it had classified North Korea as a "human rights concern" for several reasons, including its ban on the freedom of expression.

Diplomats in Pyongyang live in relative comfort compared to the rest of the North Korean population, but the latest ban on their freedom adds to an already existing list of inconveniences they face in their daily lives.

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Pyongyang is subject to frequent blackouts due to power shortages in the country, and a Swiss diplomat had said in June it takes an hour to boil water and two hours to heat an oven to 200 degrees in his compound.

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