N. Korea Kicks Out 'Insulting' BBC Journalist
He was questioned for 8 hours
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 9, 2016 12:30 AM CDT
In this May 7, 2016, photo taken and distributed by the North Korean government, North Korean delegates attend the party congress in Pyongyang.   (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
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(Newser) – North Korea is expelling a BBC journalist it has detained for allegedly "insulting the dignity" of the authoritarian country, which has invited scores of foreign media for its ongoing ruling party congress. Rupert Wingfield-Hayes had been scheduled to leave Friday after accompanying a group of Nobel laureates on a North Korea trip. Instead, he was stopped at the airport, detained, and questioned for eight hours, the AP reports. O Ryong Il, secretary-general of the North's National Peace Committee, says the journalist's news coverage distorted facts and "spoke ill of the system and the leadership of the country." He says Wingfield-Hayes wrote an apology, was being expelled Monday, and would never be admitted into the country again.

The BBC says Wingfield-Hayes was detained Friday along with producer Maria Byrne and cameraman Matthew Goddard, and that all were taken to the Pyongyang airport. More than 100 foreign journalists are in the capital for North Korea's first party congress in 36 years, though they've been prevented from actually covering the proceedings. Officials have kept the foreign media busy with trips around Pyongyang to show them the places it most wants them to see—a maternity hospital with seemingly state-of-the-art equipment, a wire-making factory where managers say salaries and production are going up, and the humble birthplace of national founder Kim Il Sung, which has been converted into a sort of museum-park with a large "funfair" right next door. (Kim Jong Un told the congress that the country won't use nuclear weapons unless it's invaded.)