Paper Shortage Directly Cuts North Korean Propaganda Output

Michelle Cho, Feb. 22, 2018, 11:42 a.m.

North Korea recently cut the number of prints of the Rodong Sinmun propaganda newspaper by two-thirds due to a paper shortage amid international sanctions. A source on Wednesday said about 600,000 copies of the Rodong Sinmun were printed every day until the end of last year, but now that has been cut to 200,000 and home delivery has stopped.

Founded in 1945, the paper is published for members of the Workers Party. In its heyday in the 1980s it printed 1.5 million copies, but this dwindled by half during the famines of the 1990s.

The paper is supplied by the party's Propaganda and Agitation Department, which is headed by leader Kim Jong-un's sister Yo-jong.

North Korea's own paper is sparse and of low quality, so half the paper is imported from China, but imports have plummeted due to international sanctions.

"Paper is not an item on the list of banned items, but it seems that North Korea does not have enough foreign currency to buy it," said a researcher at a South Korean state-run think tank.

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