Fake News: North Korea Did NOT Agree To Open Its Doors To Christianity (Yet?)

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: North Korea Did NOT Agree To Open Its Doors To Christianity (Yet?)

Is North Korea opening the door for Christian missionaries and aid groups? No official announcement about this has been made despite what a false headline from a site known for mixing real news with made up headlines containing unsupported claims is trying to get you to believe.

The claim appeared in an article published on May 3, 2018 on YourNewsWire titled "North Korea Agrees To Open Its Doors To Christianity" (archived here) which opened:

How times can change. A few months ago, North Korea's dictator, Kim Jong-un, was firing missiles over Japan and threatening to send nuclear bombs in our direction. Now North Korea has agreed to open its doors to food, medicine and the message of Christ.

But last week, the young North Korea leader dropped a different kind of surprise on the world: He met with South Korean president Moon Jae-in on April 27 and announced that the 67-year-old Korean conflict is over. "I came here to put an end to the history of confrontation," Kim Jung-un told Moon in a meeting on the border town of Panmunjom.

"There will be no more war on the Korean peninsula, and a new age of peace has begun," the two leaders said in a joint statement.

That article, in turn, was mostly based on this story from Charisma Magazine, copying entire sections of it:

North Korea Will Open Its Doors to Christianity

A few months ago, North Korea's dictator, Kim Jong-un, was firing missiles over Japan and threatening to send nuclear bombs in our direction. But last week, the young leader dropped a different kind of surprise on the world: He met with South Korean president Moon Jae-in on April 27 and announced that the 67-year-old Korean conflict is over.

That article was labeled as a blog post from Christian minister J. Lee Grady, not a news story. And it ended in a vision of hope:

God has worked this miracle. It is not the work of any politician. He has heard the prayers of his people on both sides of this conflict--and the prayers of the faithful around the world who felt North Korea's pain. He will engineer a lasting peace in this part of the world, and open the doors wide for the gospel to flourish in a thirsty land.

Before long, the churches of South Korea will freely send teams into the North with food, medicine and the message of Christ. Like a patient who has been in a coma, North Korea will awaken. The world will watch a national transformation. We are witnessing the greatest display of God's sovereign power over nations since the Berlin Wall fell.

But it is not a report about an actual signed agreement from North Korea about letting Christianity into the country. We were unable to find any reports about that happening so for now we are going to have to label YourNewsWire's headline as fake news.

YourNewsWire has published several hoaxes and fake news articles in the past so anything they write or publish should be taken with a large grain of salt. Their Facebook page "The People's Voice" recently lost its verification checkmark according to a report from MMFA.

The Terms of Use of the site also make it clear they don't really stand behind the accuracy of any of their reporting:

THE PEOPLE'S VOICE, INC. AND/OR ITS SUPPLIERS MAKE NO REPRESENTATIONS ABOUT THE SUITABILITY, RELIABILITY, AVAILABILITY, TIMELINESS, AND ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION, SOFTWARE, PRODUCTS, SERVICES AND RELATED GRAPHICS CONTAINED ON THE SITE FOR ANY PURPOSE.

The site was profiled in the Hollywood reporter where it was described as:

Your News Wire, a 3-year-old website of murky facts and slippery spin, is published by Sean Adl-Tabatabai and Sinclair Treadway -- a Bernie Sanders supporter in 2016 -- out of an apartment in L.A.'s historic El Royale.

RationalWiki described it as:

YourNewsWire (styled as YourNewsWire.com[1]) is an Los Angeles-based clickbait fake news website known for disseminating conspiracy theories and misleading information, contrary to its claimed motto ("News. Truth. Unfiltered").[1]

A while ago we also reported that YourNewsWire had rebranded itself as NewsPunch by changing its domain name in an apparent effort to evade filtering/blocking. It appears the site has changed back to it's old name in the mean time but you can still see the NewsPunch name in the contact email address in the footer.

We wrote about yournewswire.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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