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.