South Korean Network Apologizes for ‘Inappropriate’ Images on Tokyo Olympics Broadcast

by Suzanne Halliburton

The parade of nations was the top highlight of the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony. But a South Korean network was forced to apologize for adding “inappropriate” images to its coverage of the event.

For background, athletes competing for each country walk behind their flag bearers. They wave to the crowd, snap selfies and smile for the cameras. It’s usually a goose-bump, we-are-the-world kind of moment, as announcers provide a bit of history and geography about each country.

But the South Korean network MBC, which is based in Seoul, used extra information to illustrate the parade. Some of it involved stereotypes about food. One brought up the recent assassination of a leader. All the information mentioned the country’s GDP and its Covid-19 vaccination rate.

South Korean Network Posted Apology for Its Tokyo Olympics Coverage

The network posted an apology on its social media accounts for its cringe-worthy coverage of the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremonies.

“We respectfully apologize to all the people and viewers,” the network said in a post translated into English. a The statement stated that the network used “some inappropriate photos” during the parade introductions.

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

The images and captions are intended to make it easier for the viewers to understand the entering countries quickly during the opening ceremony. However, we admit there was a lack of consideration for the countries concerned and inspection was not thorough enough. It is an inexcusable mistake. Again, we are deeply sorry and regret the error.”

Those watching coverage of the Tokyo Olympics Friday night started posting screenshots of some of the information the South Korean network used. For Italy, the network mentioned pizza. Chernobyl was linked to the athletes from Ukraine.

The network linked Romania to Dracula. Norway was all about salmon. The network talked up the welfare state with Sweden. The network said the Marshall Islands were once a nuclear test site for the United States. Plus, according to the network, El Salvador and Bitcoin went hand in hand.

(Photo by Zheng Huansong/Xinhua via Getty Images)

Ratings From Friday Still Show Big Audience

The Tokyo Olympics are now in its third day of competition. There are some significant changes from past Olympics. There are few fans in the arenas because of Covid-19 restrictions. Olympic officials asked medal winners not to hug on the podium.

American fans still loved the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony. NBC rebroadcast the ceremony Friday night. And it averaged 10.44 million viewers. Tokyo is 13 to 16 hours ahead of the United States, depending on the time zone you’re in. NBC broadcasts the events live by using its cable channels. The network repackages the marquee events and broadcasts them in primetime. The swimming finals, which started Saturday night, are held early enough in Tokyo that the United States can watch them in prime time.