POPULAR video-sharing site YouTube has blocked North Korea’s state television channel, purportedly to avoid breaching U.S. sanctions against the totalitarian state.
The Korean Central Television’s page, which broadcasts breaking news videos including Pyongyang’s nuclear tests and leader Kim Jong Un’s outings, now has a message saying “the account has been terminated for violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines”.
YouTube’s community guidelines bans harmful, dangerous, violent and graphic content, as well as videos that violate copyright laws or that contain threats and that may incite others to commit violence.
According to The Washington Post, the action to terminate the account was taken in November because the North Korean government could earn money from YouTube through advertisements, which would in turn violate a U.S. directive that bans any person or company from doing business with the hermitted state.
The report said Google, YouTube’s parent company, has declined to comment on the matter.
“We don’t comment on individual videos or channels, but we do disable accounts that violate our terms of service or community guidelines, and when we are required by law to do so,” the paper quoted Taj Meadows, Google’s Asia head of communications, as saying.
Earlier this month, top nuclear envoys from South Korea, the U.S. and Japan pledged to work toward implementing new sanctions against North Korea.
The envoys of the three countries agreed to maintain a continuous information sharing system to monitor how and if the sanctions placed are in fact working.
This comes after the United Nations Security Council at the end of November voted to further tighten sanctions against Pyongyang following months of diplomatic back-and-forths on how best to respond to the regime repeatedly defying international sanctions and diplomatic pressure, as well as its September nuclear test.
According to Reuters, the newest sanctions include placing a limit on North Korea’s coal exports by about 60 percent with an annual sales cap of US$400.9 million, or 7.5 million metric tonnes, whichever is lower. Coal export is Pyongyang’s major export item.
The resolution also bans North Korean copper, nickel, silver and zinc exports – as well as the sale of socialist-style statues, which Pyongyang is famous for and exports mainly to African countries.
North Korea has rejected the resolution, calling it another attempt masterminded by the U.S. to deny Pyongyang its sovereignty.
The accusation has, however, been denied by U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power.
“No resolution in New York will likely, tomorrow, persuade Pyongyang to cease its relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons. But this resolution imposes unprecedented costs on the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) regime for defying this council’s demands,” she insisted.
Additional reporting from Associated Press and Reuters.