North Korea: Broadcast Union Says Soccer Coverage Is a Gift (AP, June 15, 2010) Asia’s broadcasting union said Tuesday that it was providing North Korea with free live coverage of World Cup matches so that its citizens could enjoy the sport and get a feel for life outside their isolated nation. John Barton, the sport director of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, which is based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, said he signed a contract with the World Cup organizer, FIFA, on Friday to broadcast the matches live into North Korea. Mr. Barton dismissed as “rubbish” reports accusing North Korea of broadcasting pirated recordings of several matches.
KUALA LUMPUR (AFP, 15 June 2010) — North Korea has secured legal rights to air World Cup matches live, Asia’s broadcasting union said Tuesday, denying the reclusive state had pirated a recording of the opening fixture.
According to South Korean broadcaster SBS, the North’s Korean Central Broadcast Service (KBS) aired Friday’s opening 1-1 draw between hosts South Africa and Mexico without permission. But the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union said North Korea — whose team is competing at the World Cup for the first time in 44 years — had used legal footage “right from the start” following a deal between the union and FIFA.
KBS is a member of the TV union, which has agreed with football’s world governing body to air the tournament live in six other impoverished countries — East Timor, Laos, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. “We have signed a contract with FIFA on June 11, just before the opening game started, to broadcast the matches live in North Korea,” a spokeswoman at the Kuala Lumpur-based broadcasting union told AFP. “It’s not true to say they have broadcast a pirate recording for the opening match. Right from the start, North Korea has been using the feeds from FIFA legally,” she said, while declining to detail the terms of the agreement.
South Korea are also competing in South Africa, and SBS says it holds the broadcast rights for the entire Korean peninsula. North Korea, whose national side open their campaign later Tuesday against five-time champions Brazil, wanted the South to provide free footage, as it had done for the 2006 tournament in Germany. But SBS said last week that negotiations with North Korea over a fee had broken down. It said the talks had been coloured by tensions between Seoul and Pyongyang over the sinking of a South Korean warship in March…
…Four years ago, South Korea’s then-liberal government spent 150 million won (132,600 dollars) subsidising World Cup broadcasts to North Korea.
(Chosun Ilbo, 14 June 2010) North Korea’s Central TV illegally aired the opener of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa on Saturday evening despite having failed to buy the broadcasting rights. The broadcast showed about an hour and 20 minutes of footage of Friday’s opener between South Africa and Mexico.
As if mindful of accusations of piracy, the channel erased inscriptions at the top and bottom of the screen showing the source of the program. An announcer and a commentator voiced over the original broadcasters after muting the original noise soundtrack, with the result that stadium noise was almost completely lost.
SBS TV in Seoul, which holds the exclusive rights for the Korean Peninsula, says this was an “act of piracy.” “The North’s broadcast of the World Cup matches was illegal because our negotiations with North Koreans were suspended,” an SBS spokesman said. “We’ll decide how to respond once we find out where the North got the footage.”
In the 2006 World Cup, the North was given broadcasting rights for free by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union. In 2002, it also broadcast matches illegally.
On Sunday, the North only broadcast edited games between Uruguay and France and between Argentina and Nigeria and skipped the South Korea-Greece match altogether.