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A South Korean TV broadcaster has been forced to apologise for a series of offensive images it released during the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.
As athletes from each competing nation entered the stadium in Tokyo, Japan, MBC shared images it felt were synonymous with their country.
For example, a photo of a pizza was used for Italy, salmon for Norway, and Bitcoin for El Salvador, while Sweden was branded a 'developed country of welfare'.
All fairly innocuous enough if a bit of a broad brush approach to a country's entire history, I think you'll agree.
South Korean broadcaster MBC used images to "represent" each country during the #Tokyo2020 Opening Ceremony.
Ukraine: Chernobyl pic.twitter.com/KpUXATuZld
- Raphael Rashid (@koryodynasty) July 23, 2021
However, things took a bit of a sinister turn when Haiti took centre stage, with an image of civil unrest displayed, while Chernobyl was used for Ukraine.
Escalated quickly, didn't it?
But it wasn't just the pictures, the words used to describe each nation also caused some offence.
According to freelance journalist Raphael Rashid, Haiti's on-screen description said the political situation in the country 'is fogged by the assassination of the president'.
Syria was described as having 'a civil war going on for 10 years' and the network referred to the Marshall Islands as 'once a nuclear test site for the United States'.
Following a public outcry, MBC issued a formal apology for the broadcast, saying it was 'deeply sorry' for any offence it caused.
The statement 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."
This isn't the first time the channel has done this, though. At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, MBC introduced the Cayman Islands as 'famous as a tax haven for establishing offshore funds'.
While Zimbabwe was reportedly described as having 'murderous inflation'.
This year's Olympic opening ceremony was much more solemn affair than the glitz and glamour we have become used to.
With just over 900 people in the stadium, athletes were met by thousands of empty seats rather than screaming fans.
Beyond the competition, athletes must also follow a whole host of strict Covid compliant guidelines during their stay.
British athlete Jazmin Sawyers recently gave her followers a tour, explaining the rules she and others have to obey.
RULE 1 - Olympians must undergo a PCR test everyday and it has to be submitted before 10am.
RULE 2 - A temperature has to be submitted onto the daily questionnaire on the official app 'to go to the Japanese government so they can keep track of what we're doing and where we are'.
RULE 3 - Contestants are to sanitise regularly and wear masks at all times, unless eating or training.
RULE 4 - They are unable to leave the team hotel at all apart from 'one supervised walk,' which 'isn't very far'.
RULE 5 - All media duties must be on Zoom or in a room with 'one other person instead of a full film crew'.
RULE 6 - Finally, the team are restricted to 'a few floors of the hotel' and they 'can't interact with the public in any way'.
Featured Image Credit: MBC
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