Vlogger Louis Cole denies North Korea paid for videos of his trip

By Amelia Butterly
Newsbeat reporter

image copyrightFun with Louis

Looking at Louis Cole's latest YouTube videos, you would be forgiven for thinking that North Korea looks like the ideal holiday destination.

In the series of films, he visits a water park, goes surfing and eats lots of delicious looking food.

But since posting the videos online, the vlogger, who is also known as Fun for Louis, has been criticised for not discussing North Korea's human rights abuses.

Now he's responded in another video.

He said that there "was no truth" in the headlines claiming he was paid to make propaganda by the country's government.

"I do not agree with the North Korean ideologies, but I do care for and love the people there," Louis said.

image copyrightReuters

The totalitarian state, led by Kim Jong-Un, is accused of systematic human rights abuses.

Amnesty International estimates that hundreds of thousands of people are held in detention facilities, in which it says that torture is rampant and execution commonplace.

Aid agencies have estimated that up to two million people have died since the mid-1990s because of acute food shortages caused by natural disasters and economic mismanagement.

The country relies on food aid from other countries.

"I am not an investigative journalist. I don't really do political commentary and there are other places on the internet you can go to find those kinds of things," said Louis.

The trip he went on was an organised tour, he explained.

"As much as we can be sceptical about how much was real and how much was staged, that is what I experienced and I can only share with you guys what I experienced."

North Korea is one of the world's most secretive countries and it's typically been very hard for foreign journalists or tourists to get access.

Earlier this year the BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes was expelled from North Korea and forced to apologise for his reporting. He was held for 10 hours and interrogated by officials.

Back in the UK, he described how throughout his visit to the capital Pyongyang, he was followed by five minders.

The media within North Korea is all controlled by the state and the internet is severely restricted.

"The assumption I made, which may have been wrong of me, was that people watching my North Korea vlogs, would have already had a broader perspective," Louis said.

"I want to reassure you that I do know what's going on out there. I'm not being naive to it all."

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