It has been widely reported this week that Ri Son Ju, wife of DPRK leader Kim Jong Un, is pregnant.
Despite a total lack of any persuasive evidence, the British Telegraph, BBC, and CNN have ran with the story.
The whole notion that Ri Son Ju may be pregnant is nothing more than speculation arising out of the fact that she has been out of the public eye for a few weeks and appears ‘bloated and puffy’ in a recent picture. There could be hundreds of reasons for Ri’s recent absence from KCNA, and the picture of her baby bump (google it) is hardly convincing.
At best, the success of this story is indicative of a press which cares more about fun and ad revenue than facts, at worst an example of misreporting contributing to the false impression of the DPRK held by most of the world. It appears this is becoming a trend, after FOX News (among many others) mocked the DPRK for using $15 WordPress theme on their official website. In reality the DPRK didn’t use the theme, or have anything to do with the website.
This trend of reporting the unproved-but-fun story may not be malicious, but it often does more bad than good. To mislead about such a complex country can very damaging to the country’s future and international relations, and shatters any trust between that country and the rest of the world.
It’s probably fair to say that there isn’t an Anti-DPRK bias as much as a bias towards sensationalism and laziness. Those FOX reporters could have easily checked the North Korean TLD, or even emailed the administrator of the site to clarify ownership. Or the recent ‘ground breaking’ story from The Sun which turned out to be ‘we went on a tour to the DPRK’ masquerading as legitimate journalism, it would have been more difficult, but much more worthwhile, to write about the complex foreign policy of the DPRK and how it’s changing.
Maybe Ri Son Ju is pregnant. Maybe she isn’t. Speculation will do nothing but confuse and dilute facts even more. The only way we will know, is when the DPRK is ready for us to know.