Saturday, 20 July 2013

‘Captain Sum Ting Wong’ broadcasting debacle

Captain Sum Ting Wong

From the Metro 15/07/13:

Asiana Airlines is considering legal action over a TV news report that broadcast four spoof names that it said were the pilot’s involved in the San Francisco plane crash.

The carrier said its reputation had been ‘badly damaged’ after the bogus names were read out on the city’s KTVU-TV, along with a graphic of the burned-out plane.

An news anchor kept a straight face as she read the names ‘Captain Sum Ting Wong’, ‘Wi Tu Lo’, ‘Bang Ding Ow’ and ‘Ho Le Fuk’.

Despite claiming the names had been confirmed by a National Transportation Safety Board official, the anchor later apologised for the station’s mistake.

The National Transportation Safety Board has also apologised, saying a summer intern erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew.

Asiana is mulling unspecified legal measures against both KTVU-TV and the NTSB.

I’m no expert when it comes to US law, but I should imagine the ‘unspecified legal measures’ the article refers to is defamation (that is, libel – assuming US law treats ‘broadcasted slander’ in the same way as English law) and, as against the KTVU-TV, a possible breach of the USA’s broadcasting law.

Whether Asiana would have a viable action (certainly in the case of defamation proceedings) remains far from clear, however.

Maybe from a PR point of view, this might be a case of ‘least said, soonest mended’.

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