Saturday, August 02, 2008

South Korean TV airs Olympics rehersals

Olympic organisers have slammed a South Korean TV station for an unauthorised broadcast of a dress rehearsal for the Games opening ceremony, but the network claims it shot the footage legitimately. The broadcast by the private SBS network has irked Chinese organisers who had, according to state media, made performers sign confidentiality agreements not to divulge details of next Friday’s ceremony.
“I find it very disappointing that any organisation would breach protocol on something as exciting as an opening ceremony where it’s supposed to be one of the big surprises of the Games outside of athletic performance,” IOC press chief Kevan Gosper told Reuters. “It’s also the spirit of it, they know very well it should be kept private.”
The network, one of three South Korean TV rights holders allowed to distribute Olympic footage, aired just over a minute of video of the closed-door rehearsal. We went, and nobody stopped us. So we just shot,” a staff reporter at SBS’s sports desk said in Seoul.
A spokesman for the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG) said that reporters had been told not to take footage of the rehearsal, and that the matter was being investigated. “At the beginning of the rehearsal, they made a broadcast saying that nobody is supposed to take any pictures,” BOCOG spokesman Sun Weide told reporters. “Of course, I don’t think it’s authorised. We are still looking into the details of the situation,” Sun said.
The broadcast drew swift condemnation from Chinese Internet users, some of whom called for a boycott of Korean goods. “How could such a network be so unprofessional? They are no better than paparazzi!” fumed one comment posted on popular Chinese web portal Tianya. “Resolutely boycott Korean goods!” said another.
But other Internet users called for calm and said the TV station should not be blamed for a lapse in security that allowed them to film. “We should look for the reason within the measures and system to guarantee the opening ceremony’s secrecy. Blaming others doesn’t solve anything,” a commentary posted on web portal said.
A video of the broadcast posted on SBS’s website had been removed by Thursday afternoon.
(Source: Reuters)