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S. Korea TV 'broke rules' by showing rehearsal
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09:06, August 01, 2008

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· Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
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A South Korean TV channel breached established norms by telecasting footage of a rehearsal for the Olympic Games' opening ceremony on Tuesday.

The Beijing Olympics organizing committee (BOCOG) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said this yesterday.

"We are disappointed that they did that," Sun Weide, spokesman for the BOCOG, said. Though the footage cannot give people the full picture of the grand opening ceremony, it is against universally accepted norms.

"We are investigating the incident But the TV station has done the wrong thing," Sun said.

The South Korean TV channel SBS telecast part of the rehearsal that was held on July 16. A second rehearsal was held on Wednesday, and two more are scheduled for Aug 2 and 5.

Contents of the 50-minute opening ceremony have been kept a top secret according to established Games' norms.

IOC sources said that even accredited photographers have to undertake an oath of secrecy not to let any images of the rehearsals be made public before the opening ceremony. Those who violate the oath face legal action and cancellation of their accreditation cards.

Rights-holding broadcasters are allowed to carry their cameras to the rehearsals but only to test their equipment.

Kevan Gosper, chairman of the IOC press commission, said: "Of course it's disappointing. To run that film is a breach (of rules). This has not happened before."

SBS tried to defend its action, saying it just wanted to show people part of the "majestic opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics" and to "raise an Olympic fever in South Korea".

"If the report has caused any unhappiness, we regret it," SBS said yesterday.

KBS and MBC, two other major South Korean TV networks, have condemned SBS for its "unprofessional act", and fear that the incident could lead to the cancellation of their reporting rights.

South Korean TV viewers, too, have criticized SBS's action.

"China has been preparing for the opening ceremony for years. Exposing such an event without permission is not understandable it is a loss of face for the entire South Korean media," reads a posting on SBS's online forum.

Chinese netizens have posted angry comments on the Internet, denouncing SBS's lack of ethics and accusing it of breaking secrecy laws. Some postings have suggested canceling the TV channel's reporting rights.

Other Internet users have questioned the security at the National Stadium. A person who attended the July 16 rehearsal said there were no extra security checks for cameras and no warnings against video recording or photography.

Chen Weiya, assistant director of the opening ceremony, told Beijing-based Caijing magazine that the opening event "will go on as scheduled without any disturbance (because of the SBS breach)".

Source: China Daily

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