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U.S. sanctions against North Korea target Pyongyang's propaganda

In an unprecedented move, the Treasury Department is applying the sanctions to Pyongyang officials in the Korean Workers’ Party’s Propaganda and Agitation Department.

By Elizabeth Shim
U.S. sanctions against North Korea target Pyongyang's propaganda
President Barack Obama signed into law an executive order that imposes more sanctions against North Korea. Pool photo by Chip Somodevilla/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, March 16 (UPI) -- President Obama has levied more sanctions against North Korea, and for the first time Washington is targeting Pyongyang's propaganda apparatus.

The executive order was signed into law on Wednesday and follows other unilateral U.S. sanctions that were passed in response to North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

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"The order is not targeted at the people of North Korea, but rather is aimed at the government of North Korea and its activities that threaten the United States and others," Obama said in a statement to Congress, USA Today reported.

The sanctions are focused on restricting the activities of North Koreans in the mining, energy and other industries.

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In an unprecedented move, the Treasury Department is applying the sanctions to Pyongyang officials in the Korean Workers' Party's Propaganda and Agitation Department.

The department operates under the Party's Central Committee Secretariat and is in charge of general propaganda, ideological education, publications control, and censorship at home and abroad, Yonhap reported.

The department manages the idolization of Kim Jong Un, and the chief of propaganda is North Korean official Kim Ki Nam, who has earned the nickname "the North Korean Goebbels" in the South.

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Joseph Goebbels was Adolf Hitler's propaganda minister in Nazi Germany.

An extensive number of media outlets and publications are to be sanctioned -- including North Korea's Korean Central News Agency, the newspaper Rodong Sinmun and various film studios.

The Propaganda and Agitation Department was the first place of work for Kim Jong Il, father of the current leader, after he graduated from university in 1964.

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It's also believed Kim Jong Un's younger sister Kim Yo Jong is currently working at the department as deputy chief.

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