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South Korean Broadcaster Promises Changes After 'Offensive' Olympics Coverage

Olena Kostevych and Bogdan Nikishin, of Ukraine, carry their country's flag during the opening ceremony in the Olympic Stadium at the 2020 Summer Olympics, July 23, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

The head of a South Korean television channel apologized Monday after the broadcaster used stereotypical images to represent various countries during the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony, including a picture of Count Dracula for the Romanian team and the Chernobyl nuclear disaster to represent Team Ukraine.

At a press conference Monday, Park Sung-je, the president of Munwha Broadcasting Corp (MBC) bowed deeply and promised a "major makeover,” including installing an ethics committee and better screening system. The station also apologized to the embassies of Ukraine and Romania in Seoul, Park added.

MBC's coverage of the Friday opening ceremony quickly went viral on the Internet, with some users expressing outrage and others laughter at the simplistic, offensive images used. For Norway, MBC used a picture of fresh salmon. For Italy: pizza. For Mongolia: Genghis Khan.

In an English statement posted online, MBC said the images and captions were intended to "make it easier for the viewers to understand the entering countries quickly" during the ceremony.

"However, we admit that there was a lack of consideration for the countries concerned, and inspection was not thorough enough,” the statement read. “It is an inexcusable mistake.”

MBC has been rebuked before for such behavior. During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, it referred to Chad as the "dead heart of Africa" and spoke of "murderous inflation" in Zimbabwe.