On Friday, athletes from around the world entered Japan’s National Stadium in Tokyo for the start of the 2020 Olympics. But one broadcaster in South Korea has been forced to apologise for depicting several nations using a bizarre choice of pictures.
The channel, MBC, apologised for offending viewers after receiving several complaints the visuals were “offensive” and “ridiculous”.
MBC claimed they want to make it easier for viewers to understand which countries were entering the stadium quickly but admitted it was an “inexcusable mistake”.
During a press conference today, the channel’s CEO Park Sung-jae said MBC had “damaged the Olympic values of friendship, solidarity and harmony”.
He said: “I bow my head and deeply apologise.”
The channel issued a statement that read: “In today’s Opening Ceremony broadcast, inappropriate photos were used when introducing countries like Ukraine and Haiti.
“Also, inappropriate photos and subtitles were used for other countries.
“We apologise to the viewers of Ukraine and other countries.”
The CEO added how MBC would be putting “in all [their] effort to prevent another accident from happening”.
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This is not the first time MBC has been in trouble for the same offence.
During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the channel was fined for using similar captions and images at the opening ceremony.
Back then it referred to Zimbabwe as “a country with deadly inflation”.
Ahead of the opening ceremony on Friday, hundreds of people marched down a busy Tokyo street in protest against the Olympics.
Many people were heard shouting “Go to hell, IOC”, referring to the International Olympic Committee, and “go to hell, Olympics”.
This protest came after Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga denied he was pressured by the IOC into holding the Games despite the rising number of coronavirus cases across the capital.
Mr Suga said Tokyo was “in the right place, and we’re ready to go”.
He insisted he was “absolutely not” pushed into going ahead with the Games.
Mr Suga told Wall Street Journal: “We raised our hands and we sought the Olympics because we wanted to do it.
“If they tried to force something on me, I’d kick it right back at them.”