South Korean TV network apologizes for ‘inappropriate’ coverage of Olympic opening ceremony

Japan 2020

MBC, one of South Korea’s larger networks, is now apologizing for the “inappropriate” photos and captions that flashed across the screen as participants entered the Olympic Stadium on Friday. (Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images)

(NEXSTAR) – Viewers watching the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on South Korean TV were treated to a series of confusing and inappropriate imagery, the broadcast network has admitted.

MBC, one of South Korea’s larger networks, is now apologizing for the “inappropriate” photos and captions that flashed across the screen as participants entered the Olympic Stadium on Friday, such as the image of Chernobyl that accompanied the Ukraine team’s entrance, and the photo of civil unrest in Haiti used during the Haitian team’s entrance.

Other confusing choices included pictures of salmon for the Norwegian team, pizza for the Italian team and sushi for the Japanese team. At one point, MBC even displayed a photo of a promotional Bitcoin poster when the El Salvador team was shown on screen, the Agence France-Presse reported.

Some of the captions were equally surprising, with the Marshall Islands being described as a former nuclear test site for the U.S., and Syria’s caption making a reference to the ongoing Syrian Civil War, Reuters reported.

On Saturday, MBC issued a formal apology on its website and social media channels, offering “no excuses” but admitting that production had been rushed.

“We respectfully apologize to all the people and viewers,” reads a translated message posted to MBC’s Facebook page. The statement acknowledged that MBC used “some inappropriate photos” during the countries’ introductions, but the network promised to take follow-up actions so as not to repeat the mistake.

“MBC recognizes the seriousness of this issue that occurred in the Olympic Games … We’ll make sure similar accidents don’t happen again.”

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