In today's tour of state-sponsored propaganda: Burma's state media becomes less awful, North Korea loves aggregation, and the U.S. Defense Department gets Orwellian. We begin in Burma.
Praise for Aung San Suu Kyi
Today brings the unusual reminder that just because something is propaganda, doesn't mean it's totally insidious. In a hopeful sign of progress in Burma, state-run newspaper New Light of Myanmar heaped a bucket of praise on Democratic reformer Aung San Suu Kyi. In an editorial this week that would've never been published under the country's previous censorship system, the paper calls Suu Kyi and the President Thein Sein "the hope of Myanmar." As The Associated Press notes, the editorial amounts to "rare praise" from the publication. While not totally in support of the Nobel laureate, New Light criticized her for downplaying Burma's progress at an economic forum, it insisted that the future of the country "depends completely" on the president cooperating with Suu Kyi. In another sign the country is opening up, The Myanmar Times has an interesting item about the publication of previously censored literature:
FOR the past 50 years, literature lovers in Myanmar have been able to read only the bowdlerised versions of the short stories, novels and poems published by local writers, with much of the best material left on the cutting room floor as a result of the relentless assault of the censor’s red pen. But now, as the burden of censorship becomes lighter, some writers and publishers are endeavouring to release previously suppressed work to the public.
Obviously the reform process is far from complete in the country, and a lack of censorship won't fix everything, but it's one of the less dreary stories out of today's state-run media stories. Keep it up, Burma!
North Korea Loves Aggregation
Last month, we caught North Korea's clumsy propaganda outlet KCNA praising an obscure Bangladeshi newspaper for aggregating one of its stories about Kim Jong Un's views on land management. Turns out, KCNA is willing to praise just about anyone who automatically scrapes its content. Of course, this isn't a very large club of publications. Today's lucky winner is the even more obscure Nepali newspaper Arpan, which carried the article "History of Comrade
Congratulations Arpan, you're in a vanishngly small club of publications that will publish positive things about a notoriously repressive regime.
DoD Goes Orwellian
When the U.S. Defense Department announced it was transitioning to a greater emphasis on Asia, pretty much everyone new that was about curbing the power of one country in particular: China. That's why a news article on the U.S. Defense Department's website this week had Time's military writer Mark Thompson chuckling.
The post includes just one line from Thompson: "George Orwell, Call Your Office."