Propaganda video by NIS has ministry up in arms

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Propaganda video by NIS has ministry up in arms

The Ministry of Unification clashed with the National Intelligence Service over a propaganda video produced by the spy agency that’s part of a program at a DMZ tourist site.

The video takes aim at South Koreans who praise North Korea.

According to sources in several organizations working on national security education issues, the Institute for Unification Education, under the Unification Ministry, sent an official notice to the Odu Mountain Unification Observatory in Paju, Gyeonggi, telling it to stop showing tourists the NIS video.

The notice allegedly says, “This video clip is inappropriate for educational purposes about the unification of Korea, so we order you to stop showing it immediately.

“From now on, all of the materials to be shown and displayed [at the observatory] should be provided only by the Institute for Unification Education,” the notice continued. “If you want to use other materials, you must be authorized by the institute in advance.”

The 11-minute video, entitled “A Peace Earned by Submission Would Cause a War,” was produced by a private company for the NIS, which sent it to several education centers including the observatory.

The video, exclusively obtained by the JoongAng Ilbo, shows North Korean attacks on South Korea, including the torpedoing of the warship Cheonan and the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in 2010. It denounces the hostility of North Korea under the rule of Kim Jong-un.

Additionally, it criticizes some far-left South Korean activists who protested the construction of a naval base on Jeju Island and the building of a U.S. military base in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi.

Of the South Korean activists, the video says, “Those pro-Pyongyang people are chanting the slogan ‘War or peace?’ and creating social conflicts. They argue, ‘A bad peace is better than a war.’?”

It goes on to say that the pro-Pyongyang activists denounce South Korea’s government while praising the North’s, saying “That’s like praising robbers and condemning the policemen trying to catch them.” The Odu Mountain Unification Observatory is under the control of the Institute for Unification Education, but its management is outsourced to a company called Donghwa Jinheung.

“I just showed the clip because it was provided by the government, and I concluded there were no problems with its contents,” Lee Hun, head of the Donghwa Jinheung, said. “I don’t understand why the Unification Ministry ordered us to stop it.”

Managers at the observatory said that in October an aide to a Democratic Party lawmaker visited the observatory with his family and raised objections to the video. So the Ministry of Unification told the institute to order the observatory managers to drop it from the program.

NIS officials expressed displeasure at the ministry’s decision because the ministry has used most of the materials provided by the NIS so far.

“It is a matter for the observatory managers to decide,” an NIS official said.



BY LEE YOUNG-JONG [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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