Ministry of Truth

A world where lies are true, and truth is a lie!

Manipulating truth to rewrite history

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Technology, manipulation, and Orwell

Technology has always proportioned us with new, revolutionary abilities with the goal of facilitating our lives. Constant developments on hardware and software have made acts such as sending and receiving information, sharing opinions, and learning simple through devices that once were only dreamed about. Of course, the grandiosity of these possibilities made is possible to produce, in theory, negative results towards certain people or groups of people.

George Orwell had a vision in 1946, a vision that would in part end up becoming true. In his novel "1984", he creates a futuristic dystopia in which a government essentially lies on a daily basis to the people and those lies are the only thoughts they can elaborate on, without being able to give their own opinion unless it is supporting them. The government rewrites history, alienating the population from any truth that has ever happened in the past before this dictatorship occurred. Today, we a see a similar example of such manipulation in North Korea.

North Korea's Manipulation of History

It is no doubt that North Korea's population remains ignorant regarding the world outside the countries borders, a world which is almost always either censored, lied about, or simply left null. There's not much difference regarding the country's own history, either.

The most relevant example is what is being taught in school to children regarding the Korean War of the early 1950's. What the rest of the World knows is that it was North Korea began this war when the army forced itself through the 38th Parallel, or the Demilitarized Zone, attacking their Southern counterpart. What North Korea claims and what all North Koreans are taught is that South Korea attacked first and their attack was simply a response. With the United Nation intervening, North Korea began stepping back from their assault on Seoul and quickly began using professional to rewrite the events. These scholars began writing of a heroic North which since the beginnings of the nation only attempted to unify it and maintain peace.

According to the North, the fighting also ended differently. Although it ended after the signing of a stalemate, the information in the country is that it ended in a "glorious victory" for them thanks to the unity of the people. Also, about 400,000 US soldiers were killed in the battle, although the US Military claims the number to be around 30,000. There are currently no mentions of how many North Koreans died during the fighting, but outside it is known the number was about 1.5 million.

Finally, a more recent and less contradictory manipulation on behalf of North Korea regards the 2014 FIFA World Cup which just ended in Brazil. According to the following video supposedly released by North Korean news media, the country's national team won the competition, although Germany became the actual victor. The team beat Japan, the USA (their capitalist "enemies") and China in the groups stage, and went on to win the tournament against Portugal. The reason for this might be to raise the sense of patriotism even further, for the population to maintain its love towards the government who see's this false victory as a way to bring the people closer to the nation.
브라질 2014 - North Korea wins the group stage on World Cup - 북조선 [ Subtitles 자막 ]

Hardware and Software Used to Manipulate Truth

Photograph Manipulation

As shown in the previous video, manipulating or changing images to false creations is becoming more and more common ever since the practice first began in the late 1800's through different techniques. Today, the most common form of "tampering" with media is through the use of programs which can be either free or payed, such as Adobe Photoshop or They can be downloaded from the internet or purchased as discs.

The goal, of course, can be to produce beautiful works of digital art, that like painting, have absolutely no barriers other than one's imagination, exemplified in the picture beside.

Unfortunately, images can easily be distorted with the objective of making them unrecognizable as false, convincing the public they are original. An example of this occurs in 2006, from the infamous Lebanon War Photograph Controversy. Adnan Hajj was a freelance photographer working for Reuters at the time, who during the conflict between his country Lebanon and Israel, "photoshopped" various images of Israeli attacks, misrepresenting their after effects. Hajj was then fired from the company, but his images came close to becoming accepted.

Manipulated Truth: transmitted and communicated to society.

The Internet, Television, and Print

The role of media in today's society is stronger and more important than ever. Although the Internet, television, and the printed press can deliver information fast and clear to us, they are simple ways to deliver false information, too. By accessing the web from laptops, desktops, tablets or even smartphones, we are opened to a world where information is everything, and not always will we know its legitimacy. Photographs, again, are a great example of this uncertainty, because with programs such as Adobe Photoshop, they can easily have gone through a process of modification. Images can easily be broadcast simultaneously to television sets, where millions can see them, too. Finally, the printer press (newspapers, magazines, etc.) tends to display images with the focus of promoting a lifestyle, or idealized concept of beauty, for example.
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by Ludovico Romagnoli, ISC 11th Grade