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North Korea is Now Itself a Twitter Account

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, August 16 2010

Photo of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il by Robert Huffstutter

Perhaps drawing on Hugo Chávez's tremendous success as inspiration, North Korea has joined Twitter. The Guardian runs its translation magic on the country's regime's first tweet, and comes up with "Website, 'our nation itself' is a Twitter account." Okey doke.

While the idea of the notoriously secretive country tweet-tweet-tweeting away might strike at first as almost comically incongruent, there's much to predict this latest move.

A 2007 report from the OpenNet Initiative found that, indeed, North Korea is a "virtual 'black hole' in cyberspace" from the perspective of North Koreans, who are largely limited to accessing a few dozen government pre-approved websites.

But the regime in Pyongyang isn't so closed-minded when it comes to the utility of news mediums for spreading the word. "The North Korean regime does maintain a nominal presence on the World Wide Web through sites promoting its ideology and agenda," found the ONI report. "As with print and broadcast media, these sites largely extol the nation’s leader Kim Jong Il, his father Kim Il Sung, and the Juche Idea of national 'self-reliance,' while espousing the country’s stance on reunification of the Korean Peninsula."

More on North Korea's new Twitter account here.