Attention: Mark Lazarus
NBC Sports Group
Dear Mr. Lazarus:
I’m writing you from Groupe CHCR Inc. MIKE FM 105.1 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
As an American-born broadcaster now working in the multicultural environment of Montreal’s ethnic communities, I have a concern related to your network’s coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympics opening ceremony.
As I’m sure you are aware, your anchor incorrectly introduced the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as “Macedonia.” Our Greek listeners were offended and outraged as the name Macedonia is not approved for use by FYROM on the international stage.
In fact, the visuals broadcast on NBC very clearly showed the FYROM on the placard that was carried into the stadium.
I hesitated to write you on this, but persistent calls to our on-air Greek hosts, have prompted me to address this topic. We have literally received some 200 calls criticising NBC Sports. I’m a proud viewer of NBC, having worked at an NBC television affiliate in Central New York, back in the 1980s. I only want to see NBC presented in the most favorable light.
The public seeks out a media based on credibility and trust in that station and its hosts.
NBC having the unique rights to the broadcast of the Olympic Games has accepted the responsibility of reflecting this credibility and trust through its coverage over this two-week period.
If someone on your staff decided to use of all things “The Olympic Games” as the platform to further a personal political ideal the danger spreads to all media around the world regarding credibility and trust.
If NBC can do it, so can others.
It’s a dangerous game to play.
As broadcasters we must take our responsibility seriously, we are accountable to the public and to our shareholders.
It may seem like a minor error, but the facts matter. I do understand that there exists a political disagreement, but as broadcasters it’s best that we don’t take sides.
I would ask that you simply follow the directive of the International Olympic Committee and the United Nations to identify this country as the FYROM during future coverage and particularly during the closing ceremony.
Director of Operations