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Is North Korea Times Reliable?

By · Oct 7, 2023 · 7 min read

Is North Korea Times Reliable?

The North Korea Times is North Korea’s longest-standing online newspaper, educating and informing, with a mission “to provide up-to-the-minute news about the country.”

With this being said, is The North Korea Times a reliable news source? At Biasly, we evaluate the accuracy of bias and credibility of news sources. Today’s article will investigate the reliability and accuracy of the North Korea Times.

Does Reliability Matter?

Reliability, in general, refers to how trustworthy or accurate information, or in this case, a news source is. If we consider this definition, it quickly becomes clear why reliability is important in media sources. If we can’t trust the things we read then there isn’t much of a point in continuing to consume content from that source, after all. So how exactly can we gauge the reliability of a news source anyways?

There are several potential measures of reliability to look out for when trying to determine whether a media source is reliable or not. Red flags for an unreliable article can include the presence of wild unsubstantiated claims, facts dependent on other unreliable sources, heavy use of opinionated language, and more. Some indicators of a reliable news source, on the other hand, include things like:

  • Absence of subjective/opinionated language in articles
  • Credible sources cited (e.g., neutral sources, .gov, .edu websites)
  • Facts and statistics backed by multiple relevant outside sources
  • Use of primary sources when possible (e.g., interviews, quotes)
  • Information that remains consistent across news sources

So How Does North Korea Times Fare in its Reliability?

Biasly’s political bias index objectively assesses news organizations and their dependability. Biasly’s rating for The North Korea Times has an Analyst rating of 75% reliability on our meter, which suggests readers can trust most of North Korea Times’ online content. An A.I. rating has not yet been assigned for this source, but stay tuned to see if that changes.

This 75% rating is an average, meaning that certain articles are more or less accurate than other ones. Our findings align with third-party research, which indicates mostly factual reporting and medium credibility scores.

We will analyze the supporting data for these rankings and discuss what to watch out for when looking for trustworthy news.

The North Korea Times Accuracy and Reliability

The credibility of a news source is significantly impacted by their bias and political orientation. Recall that North Korea Times was rated “Center” in terms of their political orientation, meaning that they do not have an incentive to provide news from one side of the spectrum versus the other. In turn, this source should have high integrity– we will see whether or not this is the case by looking at some of their articles. Selection and omission bias will be another factor to consider in assessing the article’s correctness and factuality.

Being a North Korean news source also affects their leaning and motives, given that the North Korean government places strict restrictions on foreign relations, reporters and even residents. Further, it is illegal to show disrespect or make jokes about North Korea, current or former leaders and their families (Smart Traveller). Additionally, the government highly restricts information about domestic politics and international relations. In the North Korean Constitution, the press is tightly controlled by the state and the government only allows speech that supports it and the ruling part of North Korea. As such, their leanings will obviously be in favor of the North Korean government– their motives also reflect this.

Selection bias is when stories and facts are selected or deselected, often on ideological grounds, to create a narrative in support of the new sources’ ideology. Omission bias, on the other hand, is when different opinions and political views regarding a situation are left out so that the reader is only exposed to the ideological perspective supported by the author. It’s important to keep in mind these two types of biases when trying to assess an article’s level of accuracy.

Biasly creates a percentage score for accuracy– 1 represents the least accurate while 100 is the most. Ratings are calculated by weighing claims with supporting evidence and number of reliable internal and external sources used. As we previously stated, The North Korea Times is generally 75% reliable; which again can vary between articles. The most extreme variations in reliability scores are caused by selection and omission biases. Consider also, another Center source Bloomberg News, whose reliability rating is 90% according to Biasly. They have one article that is 100% reliable titled “Teen Steak n Shake Worker’s Sexual Assault Harrassment Jury Award Upheld” and one rated 69% reliable titled “A Black Dyer Shakes Up the White-Dominated Yarn Industry.” This just shows that articles fluctuate in their reliability depending on the nature of the article– stories displaying political leanings rather than general news reporting are typically less reliable.

For example, this article titled “Federal Reserve losses surpass $100 billion, and still rising” is rated “Somewhat Conservative.” Concerning its selection and omission bias, author Robert Besser does consult experts from bank staffers the former heads of St. Louis Fed, yet no one currently working for the Federal Reserve or the government is consulted. As a result, claims of how the situation should be handled are in the article:

“The Fed should have kept some of the $1 trillion it has given the Treasury over the last decade to cover the sort of losses it is navigating, but that is not the system Congress has set up, he added.”

The article portrays somewhat of a conservative stance, due to portraying the Biden administration at fault for these financial issues. However, the story seems unbalanced because no one from the government is consulted, which would provide more of a holistic view of the issue. As a result, the reliability of this article is alright.

We will take a look at more examples of articles below, looking further into the credibility of the North Korea Times and their articles. We will continue to look at the use of selection and omission bias, as well as the quality of its sources and facts used.

Analysis of Reliability in North Korea Times Pieces

Opinion-style journalism offers reporters to express their opinions and beliefs, although excessive opinion is something that you want to avoid when writing a general news article. With that being said, opinion articles are less trustworthy because they are subjective, but still have educational insights because it can widen one’s perspective.

The following articles below will take a specific look at quality of sources and facts used as well as omission bias, which are crucial features in determining an article’s credibility.

Quality of Sources and Facts Used

North Korea Times can be good at using reliable sources from both sides of the political spectrum and supporting their facts with evidence. An example titled “Biden Meets 5 Central Asia Leaders on UN Sidelines” is an article that uses multiple external sources. Nineteen quotes are used in the article- all being medium or short. Additionally, the author uses six sources, which are listed below:

  • Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili, associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh
  • Eric Green, former director at the National Security Council
  • Voice of America
  • Hunter Stoll, defense analyst, RAND Corporation
  • Kadyr Totogulov, former Kyrgyz ambassador to the U.S.
  • Iskra Kirova, Europe and Central Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch

The quality of sources is great in that it covers a wide range of political perspectives that all seem to be very credible. Voice of America, according to Biasly, is a Central source with a 96% analyst reliability rating. Considering they are the primary source cited by the North Korea Times, this indicates a positive quality source. Moreover, RAND Corporation, who is also referenced, leans slightly left, which aligns with Biasly’s rating that this article is “Somewhat Liberal:’

“‘Central Asia’s sourcing relations with Russia and growing skepticism of Chinese influence have created a window of opportunity for the United States to bolster its image through greater long-term investment in the region’”

As per, all of their documents are peer reviewed by at least two qualified reviewers- chosen for technical expertise, policy experience and ability to provide an objective review.

Lastly, Human Rights Watch, made the following statement:

“Biden should ask for explicit steps to end politically motivated prosecutions, supression of free speech and impunity for torture and police brutality.”

Third party research agencies note that HRW does have a left-center bias, advocating for policies favored by the left.

So, the quality of sources used are impactful and informative about the events. Overall, while the article has a slight left-lean, the sources and quotes do create a holistic view of the events.

There are no examples of failed fact checks from The North Korea Times- which obviously is a good thing in that there aren’t any clear examples of misinformation from the source.

Selection and Omission Bias

Taking a look at the selection and omission bias, this article titled “Oklahoma voters defeat referendum to legalize use of marijuana” references state election returns on legalizing marijuana use;

“Compared with nearly 38 percent who supported it, just over 62 percent voted against the recreational post legislative measure, known as Question 820”

“According to Reuters, 21 other US states have legalized marijuana for adults, despite cannabis remaining an illegal narcotic under federal law”

While no sources/links are directly cited, this article doesn’t have any extreme language, but selection bias occurs by selecting facts to create a narrative in support of the source’s ideology, which in this case is pretty central. Perhaps omission bias is also present in that the author omits political views regarding the situation– in this case, the reader is not exposed to any ideological perspectives, which connects to the North Korea Times’ central rating.

Considering the article from earlier, “Federal Reserve losses surpass $100 billion, and still rising” there is further presence of selection and omission bias. The article leans right, and you can tell from the title that the author wants to frame the ideologies in that way. The author selects certain quotes and phrases that paint the government in a negative light and omits any sort of positive actions from the government or the Federal Reserve. Additionally, no opposite viewpoint is present in the article, which reduces the reliability of the article and frames the article to sound like an opinion piece.

When it comes to determining reliability, issues with factuality, sources, selection and omission are frequently present. The articles we’ve covered so far do not have too much bias, but still, there is a presence of selection and omission bias. As a news organization with a central ideology, The North Korea Times has an incentive to continue to appeal to those without a strong preferential ideology. Keeping these things in mind, it is important to continue to stay informed to determine the most accurate news.

So Is North Korea Times Reliable?

In conclusion, it can be argued that The North Korea Times is mostly reliable as an online news source. The more you research media reliability and accuracy, the easier it will be for you to spot problems with sources, selection and omission bias, and factuality overall. You can use Biasly’s News Bias Checker to uncover these reliability problems and help you consistently find the most accurate news.

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