YouTube has shut down a state-run North Korean propaganda channel, as the United States is trying to impose tougher sanctions following Pyongyang's recent nuclear and missile tests. This latest step of cutting access to Uriminzokkiri was confirmed on Saturday.
Reports said that Uriminzokkiri regularly posted video footage boasting of the North's nuclear and missile programmes and others praising the North's leader Kim Jong-Un. "This account has been terminated for violating YouTube's community guidelines", the video sharing website told AFP.
However, YouTube did not give any details on reasons why particular accounts are closed down and for what duration. The advertising revenue generated by the accounts could violate US trade sanctions.
The official footage from the channels of missile launches and visits to factories by Kim were used by academics to gain rare insights into the progress of the country's weapons programmes.
"Tracking and digitally reconstructing events is going to be more difficult as these accounts get deleted," Scott Lafoy, a Washington-based satellite imagery analyst, told NK News. The channel serves various propaganda purposes for North Korea.
Last month, Uriminzokkiri had published a video featuring the two sons of James Joseph Dresnok, in which they said that their father - the only US soldier known still to be living in North Korea after defecting more than five decades ago - had died last year pledging loyalty to the "great leader Kim Jong Un".
While again back in July, the channel hosted a video featuring Lim Ji Hyun, a female defector in her 20s who arrived in Seoul in 2014 and soon became a public figure, before apparently returning to the North from the "hell" of the capitalist South.
According to reports, Uriminzokkiri's social media accounts remained active on Saturday.
Recently, North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test and said that it was a hydrogen bomb that could be fitted onto a missile, prompting global condemnation and calls for further sanctions.
In July, Pyongyang tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that appeared to bring much of the mainland US into range.
On Monday, the US has formally requested a UN Security Council vote on tough new sanctions against North Korea despite resistance from China and Russia.
But, this is not the first time that YouTube has targeted North Korean propaganda. In November 2016, the video sharing platform closed down state-owned Korean Central TV1. According to NK News, several other channels including Chosun TV, NK Propaganda and KCTV Stream were also cut off.