ABU Agree Broadcasting Deal for North Korea to See London Olympics

By Community | July 27, 2012

North Korea is set to air the London Olympics after a new deal was agreed with Asia’s broadcasting union.

Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) said in a statement that, Kim In-Kyu, president of KBS and the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), had reached agreement in Pyongyang this week with the North’s radio and television broadcasting committee (KRT).

KBS said that North Korea had already sent six television production workers to London.

The agreement includes “a special condition that KRT broadcast at least 200 hours of major events of interest to North Korea via terrestrial channels”, the statement said.

It was not clear whether coverage would be broadcast live or recorded.

South Korea’s private SBS station retains the right to air the Games for the entire Korean peninsula, including North Korea, until the Olympics of 2024.

The company said it would broadcast the games in the South along with two public broadcasters KBS and MBC. It had tasked ABU with handling the rights in North Korea.

The statement also said that agreement had been reached on helping North Korea secure broadcast rights for other major events including the 2014 Asian Games, the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.

“The two parties have also agreed on finding ways to further cooperation in contents, technical and training programmes,” KBS said.

The announcement came as Olympic organisers apologised after a mix-up on Wednesday over North Korea’s flag prompted its women’s football team to walk off the pitch in an embarrassing start to the Games.

The squad were pictured next to the national flag of South Korea — with whom the North are officially still at war — at their opening match against Colombia at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland.

North Korea has sent 51 athletes to London to compete in 11 events including women’s football, weightlifting, table-tennis and wrestling.