November 09, 2009 08:43
North Korea stopped TV commercials in late August, less than two months after they started to be shown in July. A Unification Ministry official on Sunday said occasional advertising of goods on [North] Korean Central TV started July 2 with a commercial for Taedonggang Beer but stopped on Aug. 29.
Quoting a North Korea source, the Yonhap news agency reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il fired Cha Sung-su, chairman of the Central Broadcasting Commission in charge of all TV programs. Kim was said to have been "enraged" because he regards commercials as the thin end of the wedge of Chinese-style market reforms. The ministry said the firing has not been confirmed.
Another source said only a small group of North Koreans, mostly in Pyongyang, can enjoy the beer or Koryo ginseng advertised on TV, and the North apparently stopped the commercials to avoid stoking envy and unrest amid the current food shortage.
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