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South Korean TV apologizes over opening ceremony broadcast

/ 01:33 PM July 24, 2021
The Olympic Flame burns after the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, at the Olympic Stadium, in Tokyo, on July 23, 2021.

The Olympic Flame burns after the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, at the Olympic Stadium, in Tokyo, on July 23, 2021. (Photo by Franck FIFE / AFP)

TOKYO — A South Korean TV network has apologized after using inappropriate images and captions to describe countries during the Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony on Friday.

The broadcaster, MBC, used images of pizza to describe Italy, an upheaval for Haiti, Chernobyl for Ukraine, salmon for Norway, when athletes from those countries entered the stadium for the opening ceremony.

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In its captions broadcasting the ceremony, the network referred to the Marshall Islands as “once a nuclear test site for the United States,” and Syria as the country that has “a civil war going on for 10 years.”

In the opening ceremony shorn of glitz and overshadowed by a pandemic but defined by hope, tradition and gestures of diversity, Japan’s global superstar Naomi Osaka on Friday lit the Olympic cauldron to mark the start of the world’s biggest sporting event.

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After its use of offensive images and explanations prompted criticism online, MBC issued an apology saying: “Inappropriate images and captions were used to introduce some stories. We apologized to those countries including Ukraine and our viewers.”

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