North Korea’s government has a lot on its plate. From what outsiders can tell through the country’s official news outlet, Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), when the Pyongyang regime isn't busy manufacturing its own smart phones or bolstering tourism by building an unlikely ski resort, it's planning the latest nuclear developments and flexing military power.
However, just like much of the other news that comes out of the pariah state, the official images published by KCNA should always be taken with some skepticism. The mysterious powers in charge of North Korea’s official news and media coverage have a reputation for doctoring images.
Now, in what appears to be KCNA’s most recent alleged Photoshop disaster, the media outlet has released what seems to be another obvious attempt at deception, with a photo of the nation’s leader Kim Jong-Un along with members of his staff at a construction site for a children’s hospital in Pyongyang.
Tech and gaming website Kotaku was one of the first to pick up on the new image, pointing at Kim’s small, “floaty feet” suggesting that the “fuzziness” of Kim’s image suggest that he was just edited into the photo. In addition, a “photo forensic” test on the image shows that a Photoshop layering was used to create the photo. While it makes sense for North Korea to want to enhance photos to show an improved, intimidating military, it raises the question why doctoring was allegedly used on a seemingly harmless event.
In the past, North Korean photos were called out by photo experts and analysts for what they deduced two photoshopped hovercrafts in a Korean bay during a military drill. There was another instance when the news agency released photos of the country’s growing arsenal of weaponry with photos of non-existent missiles. The doctored photos, which are usually quite easily to spot, are seen as an ongoing form of propaganda to show the world that North Korea is a serious military power.
North Korea’s media propaganda machine has been hard at work this past year. At the height of the reclusive country’s nuclear threats in March, a series of anti-American propaganda videos were discovered online, with bizarre use of footage of President Obama and the U.S. Capitol.