As reported by NK News, an American outlet covering the secretive North Korea, South Korea’s 4-1 defeat to Brazil at the World Cup was broadcast on North Korean state television in an unsual move by authorities in the country.
The last 16 defeat for North Korea’s neighbours, in which Brazil raced into a 4-0 lead, was the first South Korean game from the World Cup in Qatar to be broadcast in the North. Most of the games at the tournament have been shown on the state-run Korean Central Television (KCTV) but usually with a delay of a day or two.
South Korea’s impressive group stage displays were not shown in the North and the airing of their humbling defeat to the tournament favourites was labelled as “pettiness” by expert Martyn Williams of Stimson Center, a think tank. It’s likely North Koreans wouldn’t have known the South had qualified for the tournament before the airing of the Brazil game.
Events like the World Cup are often broadcast on North Korean television and remain rare chances for those in the closed-off state to glimpse the outside world. However, games involving South Korea and fellow neighbours Japan were omitted from KCTV’s coverage during the 2014 and 2018 World Cups.
European club games involving even a single South Korean player are also banned from KCTV’s coverage, making the choice to show the South’s game unusual and likely an attempt to paint South Korea in a negative light with the two countries technically still at war after an armistice ended the fighting in the Korean war back in 1953.