The more oppressive a government, the more important propaganda becomes. And not only do oppressive governments need photo-ops promoting their might, they need some heartwarming images to win their people over.
French non-profit and United Nations consultant Reporters Without Borders collected staged sentimental images from world leaders deemed most resistant to a free press, and accompanied them with a soothing version of “Brahm’s Lullaby.”
Watch Russia’s Vladimir Putin hug a puppy, Bashar al-Assad blow out birthday candles with his kids, and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un giggling at an amusement park:
BETC France produced the ad along with Rita Films and Green United Music. It started running on major French television channels this past Saturday.
Christophe Deloire, secretary general of Reporters Without Borders, said in a statement:
We chose the year’s end celebrations to sensibilize the general public to the importance of defending the freedom to inform and to be informed, while in the world, in Syria, in Mali, in Russia and in another way in the heart of our democracies , the dangers which the news providers expose themselves to are intensifying.
Many commenters online objected to the inclusion of Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán alongside violent dictators like Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe. But the ad is meant to attack leaders who limit a free press, and Orbán introduced legislation in 2011 that did just that.
As a bonus, here’s another Putin puppy pic. This one’s from ’06, when he visited former Hungarian prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsany:
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