|North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, center, celebrates after a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) was launched from Pyongyang International Airport in this photo released by the North's official Korean Central News Agency, Nov. 19. Newsis|
By Lee Hae-rin
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was nominated again as "Tyrant of the Year" by Index on Censorship, a British nonprofit organization that promotes freedom of expression and publishes works by censored writers and artists every quarter. This is the second year that Kim has been nominated for that inauspicious title.
"As far as freedoms go, there is no landscape so bleak as North Korea … Under Kim Jong-un's totalitarian regime, citizens are fed propaganda in lieu of actual food. And as for elections? The ballot paper has only one option," said Katie Dancey-Downs, the organization's assistant editor.
According Index on Censorship, North Korea ranks at last place among 180 countries on the Reporters Without Borders' press freedom index.
"Perhaps beyond simply Tyrant of the Year, Kim should be up for a lifetime achievement award," Dancey-Downs said.
Eleven other nominees were selected along with Kim ― Alyaksandr Lukashenka of Belarus, Vladimir Putin of Russia, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, Xi Jinping of China, Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, Min Aung Hlaing of Myanmar, Ali Khamenei of Iran, Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico.
The winner of last year's vote was Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This year's vote is open to the public until January 6, 2023.