Authoritarian Media Coverage of International News: The Case of North Korea
25 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2023
Date Written: August 27, 2023
What determines authoritarian media’s coverage of international politics? Existing scholarship on media outlets in authoritarian countries has largely focused on their domestic political dynamic. This paper extends this literature by analyzing the patterns of authoritarian media reporting targeting international audiences. Analyzing 85,313 English news articles published by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) from 2008–2020, I find different effects of the North Korean regime’s security and economic interests on the coverage frequency and favorability of other countries in the reports. Security interests affect both coverage frequency and favorability whereas economic interests, especially the size of imports, affect only coverage frequency to a limited extent. This implies that English broadcasting in North Korea is used as a tool frequently signal to its adversaries frequently and occasionally signal to economic partners.
Keywords: Authoritarian regime, state-controlled media, North Korea
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