Foreign Ministry may report companies who botched P4G opening video
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is considering reporting to the police the companies that produced the controversial opening ceremony video for the P4G summit last month that showed a map of Pyongyang instead of Seoul when introducing the site of the international climate summit.
In a press briefing Friday, the ministry said that it has decided to place officials responsible for the video debacle under disciplinary measures and that it may report the video companies that produced the video to the police.
Korea hosted the 2021 P4G Seoul Summit from May 30 to 31 at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in central Seoul, with leaders from around 50 nations joining President Moon Jae-in virtually and in person for conversations on climate action.
P4G, or Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030, is a global initiative that seeks solutions for climate action and aims to deliver on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and achieve carbon neutrality. The inaugural summit was held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in October 2018, and Seoul was the second host.
At the opening ceremony on May 30, a video clip was played to introduce Korea as the host nation and to list heads of state and chiefs of international organizations participating in the two-day hybrid virtual and in-person P4G Summit.
In what became an international controversy, the video started out picturing and zooming out from a part of Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, instead of Seoul, when introducing the host city of the forum.
The Foreign Ministry has since then, in its internal investigation, found out that the company that it had signed a contract with to produce the video had asked another company to produce the particular segment of the video, which had then asked another company to do it.
This third company downloaded footage titled “Zooming in from earth orbit to Pyongyang North Korea in East Asia” from the internet and used it in the video. This is the controversial segment of the video.
The final version of the video, containing the map of Pyongyang instead of Seoul, was shown to the Foreign Ministry in a rehearsal on May 28 and again on the morning of May 30, before the summit was launched.
No one in the ministry noticed what was wrong with the video, according to the ministry.
“During the rehearsal, the team [at the ministry] focused on whether the subtitles at the end of the video, the flags of the participating countries, and the names of the participating leaders were properly entered, so the first half of the video was not checked,” an official of the Foreign Ministry told the JoongAng Ilbo.
The zoom-out of the map of Pyongyang is included in the first half of the video.
“Considering that the team is responsible for final content review and approval, we found the team had neglected its responsibility,” the official said. “There was a serious neglect of duty by the team, in ordering a company to produce the opening ceremony video and failing to review it thoroughly.”
The ministry said it didn’t even know that the video was being produced in cooperation with two other companies than the one it had signed a contract with.
The ministry’s team that worked on the opening ceremony and other preparations for the P4G summit, which consists of four officials total, will be subject to disciplinary measures, according to the ministry.
It is also mulling over asking the police to investigate the companies involved on whether they had intentionally included the map of Pyongyang instead of Seoul.
BY YOO JEE-HYE, ESTHER CHUNG [email@example.com]