The head of a South Korean public TV network which sparked a furore for using offensive images and captions during the Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony issued a public apology on Monday, saying its “inconsiderate” broadcast violated the Olympic spirit.

The network, MBC, has apologised for using photos of Dracula to introduce Romania, the Chernobyl power plant for Ukraine and a riot for Haiti when athletes from the countries marched into the stadium for the ceremony.

Another controversy erupted during a men’s soccer match between South Korea and Romania late on Sunday for displaying a subtitle saying “Thank you Marin,” referring to Romanian captain Rajvan Marin whose attempt to deflect the ball ended up in his own net.

Park Sung-jae, chief executive of MBC, held a rare news conference on Monday to apologise for the mishaps.

“Our broadcast violated the Olympic spirits of friendship, solidarity and unity in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic,” Park said.

“I deeply apologise for our indiscriminate broadcasts, which lacked consideration for other countries.”

The company has delivered written apologies to the Ukraine and Romanian embassies, and was exploring ways to convey its message to Haiti which does not operate a diplomatic mission in South Korea, Park said.

He vowed to improve ethical standards and reform broadcasting regulations.

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