April 22 (UPI) -- A South Korean television executive is to receive "severe punishment" after errors on his network caused an uproar among viewers partial to President Moon Jae-in.
Seoul-based Journalist Association of Korea said in a statement released Monday the director of broadcasting at local Maeil Broadcasting Network is to be disciplined severely and suspended for three months, following an incident on Sunday in which Moon was mistakenly referred to as the "North Korean president" in a news ticker.
The error is being condemned, and even interpreted as a deliberate mistake, among Moon's most ardent defenders. It also comes less than two weeks after MBN referred to South Korean first lady Kim Jung-sook as Kim Jong Un, Yonhap reported Monday.
MBN issued an immediate apology on its proprietary website, admitting the error about Moon was "broadcast as is."
"We extend our deepest apologies to all our viewers for not catching the simple mistake of a team, and putting it on air," the network said in statement.
The errors may have been displayed on screen for a brief moment, but the mistakes are being taken seriously by South Korean government agencies.
Last week, the Korea Communications Standards Commission ordered the producer responsible for the error regarding the first lady to make a deposition. The TV producer could also face disciplinary procedures, according to the Journalist Association.
The three-month suspension of MBN's broadcasting director means Chung Chang-won, the head of the network's political desk, will serve as acting director.
MBN is owned by the parent company that is also a majority shareholder of Maeil Business, one of South Korea's largest finance and economy dailies.
In 2018, the South Korean government said criminal law could be used to deal with "fake news," and in March the ruling Democratic Party slammed a Bloomberg reporter for a "borderline treacherous" article that described Moon as a de facto spokesman for the North Korean leader at the United Nations in September.
The ruling party later retracted criticism of the reporter following complaints from Seoul-based foreign correspondents.