South Korean broadcaster slammed for 'stereotypical' images during Olympic opening ceremony

A South Korean broadcaster has apologised for using "offensive" pictures and captions to depict Olympic nations.

Munhwa Broadcasting (MBC) transmitted the 2021 Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony last week in South Korea.

When each country's athletes paraded around the arena, the footage showed them along with an image designed to help viewers quickly identify each country.

When the South Korean team were announced, MBC showed photos of famous local landmarks and popular K-pop group BTS.

However some of the photos have been criticised for "stereotyping" each country, BBC reported.

Italy was portrayed by a photo of a pizza, while next to the Romanian team was a photo of Count Dracula. Mongolia's picture was of Genghis Khan and Ukraine was identified by a photo of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. El Salvador was introduced with a picture representing Bitcoin, according to The Washington Post.

For Haiti, MBC chose a photo of protests, alongside the caption: "The political situation is fogged by the assassination of the president."

When Syrian athletes entered, it said "rich underground resources; a civil war that has been going on for 10 years".

The broadcast has been shared online by local journalist Raphael Rashid where they have been widely condemned. Commenters called the photos "offensive" and "ridiculous".

MBC has since apologised in a statement for the "inappropriate images and captions".

"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 that there was a lack of consideration for the countries concerned, and inspection was not thorough enough. It was an inexcusable mistake."

The broadcaster said it will "thoroughly investigate" the process of image selection and re-examine the production system for future sport programmes.

"Again, we are deeply sorry and regretful for the mistake."