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The Global Politics of World Cup Watching

  • BBC News, Saturday, June 17, 2006 2:48 PM
It's estimated that 32 billion viewers will have watched the World Cup by the time the tournament is over. The BBC explores the politics of watching the World Cup in certain countries. In North Korea, state TV began showing edited versions of World Cup matches three days after the opening just in case something questionable were broadcast live. The Korean Central Broadcasting Commission said it hopes that by letting the North Koreans watch South Korea's matches, it might foster a sense of unity between the closed-off neighbors, who are technically still at war despite a long-lasting cease fire. In Afghanistan, TV broadcasts were banned during Taliban rulethey also banned playing soccerfrom 1996-2001, but this year Afghan TV stations are planning to show World Cup matches live for the first time. Most recently, in Mogadishu, Somalia, an Islamist militia that took power in June, took control of TV broadcasting and are now preventing citizens from seeing the World Cup. Meanwhile, a pan-Arab pay-TV broadcaster has the rights to games in the Middle East and North Africa, but it costs between $130-$400 for the tournament package. In Morocco, King Mohammed VI intervened personally to make sure games are made available on state television.

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