A Russian TV station has been accused of photoshopping an awkward smile onto Kim Jong Un’s face.
The leader of the so-called Hermit Kingdom met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Pyongyang on May 31 to discuss “the current state of and prospects for relations of friendship and cooperation,” according to a statement from the Russian foreign ministry.
A picture released with the statement shows the two men shaking hands in front of a large mural. King Jong Un is stone-faced, his lips pulling down.
Yet in its report on the meeting aired on Sunday, Russian TV station Rossiya-1 shows Kim Jong Un smiling awkwardly.
Opposition politician Ilya Yashin was one of the firsts to call out the station for the contrast between the two pictures.
He posted the two shots on Twitter, writing: “They're testing it on the gloomy North Korean dictator, but tomorrow they'll make us all happy. With a joyous smile, Russians will welcome news of price rises, utility rates hikes and subsidies to oligarchs.”
Satirical Twitter account Fake-MIDRF also blasted the station for the alleged alteration, writing: "News of the week" photoshops a smile on Kim Jong-UN.”
But in an interview on Russian radio on Monday, the host of the programme Dmitry Kiselyov denied that his show photoshopped a smile on the North Korean leader.
Close to the Kremlin, the Rossiya-1 station has been accused of doctoring or using fake images several times in the past.
In February, the show reportedly used footage from the ARMA 3 video game during a segment on Syria. The blink-and-you-miss-it moment was first picked up by Russia’s Reddit equivalent, Pikabu.
The one-second piece of footage is shown at the 4:59 min mark.