On an official website, North Korea advertised a round trip with a flash video – until a weblog discovered this, made fun of it and the film was taken off the net
North Korea, included by US President Bush in his first address to the nation alongside Iraq and Iran in the "Axis of evil" is trying to improve its situation by claiming that it already has nuclear bombs (North Korea declares that it has nuclear weapons). The bitterly poor communist country, cut off from the outside world, is under the thumb of the dictator Kim Jong Il, the "beloved Fuhrers". But they want to open up more and more to foreign countries and are increasingly using the web for this purpose. In the meantime, the Internet has arrived in North Korea itself, also with the help of a German – but only a few people in the authorities can use it. (The infowarriors from the "Axis of evil").
On the web there is not only the long existing site of the North Korean News Agency, but thanks to German and Spanish help also the official state Internet presence or the website of the Korean Friendship Association (KFA). This – also designated as the official website of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – is naturally also supposed to provide information and gentle pictures of the wonderful country with its Juche communism.
The Friends of North Korea, who also run a German site, now offer round trips and group tours to get to know the country and its people. So it goes in the middle of April 2005 to the celebrations to 93. The 57th anniversary of the birth of President Kim IL Sung and the beginning of September 2005. Anniversary of the Founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Celebrated. From Beijing, a group trip with seven overnight stays costs 1000 euros: "All inclusive: Comfortable hotels, full board, travel company and travel costs within North Korea, all entrance fees."
To make the trips more attractive, they put a flash movie on the website. In the blogosphere such a thing hardly goes unnoticed. On Saturday on the well-known weblog Boingboing attention was drawn to it and as usual a link was placed. One made fun of the "totalitarian tourism", which presents itself with a blurred flash movie:
North Korea promotes vacations with wacky Flash movie
Crank up your speakers, comrade! This flash movie from "The Korean Friendship Association" — their website claims they’re sanctioned by the DPRK government — promises an awesome getaway to North Korea with many! electric! guitars! The choral-accompanied montage includes shots of fun relay games, Kim Jong Il, and these weird "travel transition" shots — in which a tiny red plane icon appears to attack a larger passenger plane. Totalitarian tourism!
No wonder that the well-attended weblog attracted so many curious people to watch this promising movie from a country that nurtures fantasy – and James Bond movies. But this was apparently not seen with pleasure. The website seemed to have collapsed under the rush of visitors. And so the visitors of the virtual North Korea, who actually came to the page with the movie about the tempting round trip, soon could only read that some irresponsible people, directly linking to the offered "Multimedia"-Contents have laid. Solche Inhalte benotigen Bandbreite, die wiederum nicht kostenlos ist. Wer also schon unbedingt anderen diese Inhalte zeigen mochte, der moge doch – immerhin kommunistisch gedacht und gemab der ubernommenen GNU Free Documentation Licence – gefalligst diese herunterladen und auf seiner eigenen Website anbieten:
Due to some inconsiderate people linking directly to our multimedia we were forced to take the content offline since it generated too much traffic.
This kind of careless linking to high-profile sites is typical of the internet where people no longer respect that such links could make free content less available.
We will never charge money to pay for the bandwidth, so if people are going to expect high-quality content they should make their own copy of the large file and share it from their own server.
The invitation was accepted at BoingBoing, so that the film can now be viewed here at the expense of the weblog.
Somehow, however, they were not satisfied with it, perhaps it was a sign of stinginess or scarce resources, which could deter guests and please opponents. So the first text was replaced by a second one instead of the film (probably by the Spaniard Alejandro Cao de Benos www.korea-dpr.com/lodestar304v.pdf, the president of the Spanish KFA and designer of the website). Now, however, one pretends to be a little more open-minded and apologizes for the fact that at times "this popular film" must be taken off the network to save bandwidth. However, it does not go off completely without criticism of the cheeky linkers, who point fingers at others only for the amusement of the people. The result is that those who are really interested in the culture of the country get only poor quality. But then comes the good advice to distribute the files on the Internet through file-sharing networks and programs like Bit Torrent, especially since they want to present more bandwidth-eating multimedia content in the future. Maybe in a week this possibility will be offered on the website itself, but until this is the case, the access must still be restricted.
Access to the requested object was denied.
We are sorry we had to take this popular movie offline, to conserve bandwidth. Some websites that exist only for pointing fingers and people’s amusement, and not to explore culture, has recently begun to link directly to this file and other large multimedia files.
This resulted in poor quality of our normal services.
We encourage people to share files on the internet to conserve resources, and we are considering expanding our selection of free multimedia content (Flash, MP3 and MPG/ASX/ASF) to make as much as possible available to as many as possible so that they may learn about our culture.
The logical course of action is to use P2P technology such as found in the Bit-Torrent system. We will announce when the use of such system is available. In the mean time, we have to restrict access to some areas. Please check back in one week.
Thank you for your attention and letters of support.
However, you can still see the film on the North Korean website, just under a different URL.