Not quite the first live TV broadcast from Pyongyang

On Wednesday evening, viewers of Rossiya 1’s “60 минут” (60 Minutes) saw a rare live report from Pyongyang. Reporter Olga Skabeyeva was in the North Korean capital to cover Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s trip to country that began the same day.

The trip made Skabeyeva one of the first foreign TV journalists to enter North Korea since the end of its three-year COVID quarantine. That’s reason enough for the TV station to be proud, but they had sights set on something more grand.

Introducing the report, the TV station claimed it was the first ever live broadcast from North Korea.

Of course, that’s not true.

In 1994, Mike Chinoy achieved the first live TV report from Pyongyang for CNN. Chinoy talked about the achievement on the NK News podcast in 2021 and one of his subsequent 1998 live shots from the capital is on YouTube.

To be sure, live reports from Pyongyang are not common. Foreign journalists rarely get into the country and usually don’t get to broadcast live.

Skabeyeva appeared to be standing in the lobby of the Koryo Hotel when she did the live report, after midnight local time she said, and commented that it demonstrated Internet exists in the country, indicating that the video was being sent over the hotel’s Internet connection.

She also said they had been originally told they would be given “press” armbands that denoted them as journalists. These are commonly used by foreign reporters in Pyongyang, but apparently the Russian crew never got them.

“We went out into the street with cameras and filmed North Korean people. They do not look gloomy, sad, or depressed, as is commonly said about them. And no one forbade us from filming this,” the reporter said, according to BBC Monitoring.

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