Amid a security standoff, North Korea made another international headline Sunday, not for belligerent acts but for the sneak airing of a 2010 World Cup football game it was unauthorized to broadcast.
In the face of famine and deepening public anger after the failed currency reform last November, some North Korea watchers speculated that its leader might want to deflect the public attention from the ever-worsening economic reality and focus on the World Cup madness instead.
The North Korean Central Broadcast Service (NKCBS) aired the World Cup opener between South Africa and Mexico for one hour and 20 minutes Saturday. The game ended with a 1-1 draw.
Given South Korean television SBS has the exclusive rights to the World Cup for the entire Korean Peninsula, North Korea's airing of the game is apparently illegal and is considered piracy.
The North's illegal airing of the game came in the wake of failed negotiations in May between the representative from SBS and its NKCBS counterpart for allowing North Koreans to watch the games at home.
The two sides sat down first in January to reach an agreement on the North's broadcasting of the World Cup games but failed at the time.
North Korean representatives reportedly demanded that in addition to allowing the North to air the sports event, SBS also sponsor North Korean reporters' meals and accommodation while they stayed in South Africa for World Cup coverage.
SBS denied the report concerning the North's request on free meals and hotels.
In May, SBS decided not to allow North Korea to air the World Cup games. The decision came after a multinational investigation team blamed North Korea for the sinking of the warship Cheonan in March.
Previously, South Korea had sponsored all expenses needed for North Korean teams when they participated in international sport events.
But the North's provocative act caused South Korea to stop subsidizing North Korean teams in international sports events.
A North Korean representative was quoted as saying during the negotiations with SBS that the people in the communist country were anxious to watch the World Cup.
North Korea's World Cup craze supplemented its team's qualification for the 2010 World Cup finals for the first time in 44 years.
Experts said North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is an avid football fan, adding without Kim's keen interest and support, the costly overseas training of the North Korean team would have been impossible.
The North Korean football team held practices in France, and Switzerland before the opening ceremony of the South African World Cup Friday.
北, 월드컵 개막전 '해적방송'
월드컵 중계권이 없는 북한이 12일 저녁 조선중앙TV를 통해 남아프리카공화국 월드컵 개막전을 무단으로 중계해 '해적방송' 논란이 일 전망이다.
조선중앙TV는 이날 밤 9시10분부터 전날 열린 남아공과 멕시코와의 개막전을 1
시간 20분간 녹화로 중계 방송했다.
전날 개막식이 열린 지 하루 만에 월드컵 소식을 북한 주민들에게 전한 것으로
북한의 일반적인 국제경기 중계 관례에 비춰보면 매우 신속한 것이다.
조선중앙TV는 '해적 방송' 비난을 의식한 듯 중계방송의 출처를 알아볼 수 없도
록 하기 위해 원래 방송국 마크를 지우는 대신 위아래 화면을 잘라내는 방식을 택해 화면이 16:9 이상으로 길쭉하게 나타났다.
또한 원 방송 해설자의 목소리가 나오지 않도록 하려고 현장 소리가 거의 들리
지 않을 정도로 소리 크기를 줄여 북한 아나운서와 해설자들의 육성을 입혔다.
조선중앙TV는 이에 앞서 8시 메인 뉴스 마지막 꼭지에서 월드컵 개막식 소식을
화면과 함께 3분 정도 방영했다.
남.북한을 망라한 한반도 지역 전체 중계권을 단독 보유한 SBS는 북한의 월드컵
중계가 무단 방송이라는 입장이다.
SBS 관계자는 "우리가 한반도 총괄 중계권을 갖고 있는 상황에서 북한과 협상이
중단됐기 때문에 북한의 중계는 무단 사용에 해당한다"며 "북한이 어떤 방식으로 화 면을 확보했는지 경위를 파악한 뒤 대응 방식을 결정하게 될 것"이라고 밝혔다.
SBS와 북한의 조선중앙방송위원회는 월드컵 중계권 제공 문제를 놓고 협상을 벌
여왔으나 천안함 사건 등 남북관계 경색으로 협상이 중단됐다.
북한은 2006년 월드컵 때는 아시아방송연맹(ABU)으로부터 중계권을 무상으로 제
공받았고, 2002년에는 무단으로 중계를 해 '해적 방송'을 했다는 빈축을 샀다.
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Please stay on topic.
Oh for goodness, sake. Let them have some fun, they need it. I'd pay good money to see either Korea beat the US :-)
And well done, to the US on Saturday night, btw. The English goalie is never going to be be allowed get over that fumble!
no surprise that nk did this - I am surprised that the liberal democrats haven't demanded that the LMB and his administration pay for the north's entertainment service.
you got that right!!! wimpy SK guks needs to learn grow some backbone and stop whimpering.
"Given South Korean television SBS has the exclusive rights to the World Cup for the entire Korean Peninsula" Show me where it says that. SBS's monopoly is the real crime. Previously, look up how SBS got the monopoly on the Olympics by doublecrossing other Korea media as well. For the entire Korean peninsula? I am skeptical that SBS's army division can enforce that arrogant assumption. Let NK see it. Will help crack NK's control when its people see more of the rest of the world.