Paramount’s Itaewon Documentary Not Available in South Korea

Paramount has unveiled a two-part documentary on the tragic events that transpired in Itaewon on October 29 of the previous year via their own OTT platform, Paramount+, which will be released ahead of its first anniversary.

Entitled,”Crush,” the documentary meticulously reconstructs the incident’s scene from a vast array of source material, including 1,500 hours of footage, witness testimonies, and on-site recordings such as survivors’ cell phone videos and CCTV footage. Notably, there is no narration to guide viewers through the content. The documentary also employs computer graphics to shed light on the processes and causes of the disaster within the confines of a narrow alley.

The documentary features interviews with 22 individuals, including medical personnel and first responders who were present at the scene. Among them are people who directly experienced the incident, including an American student who convinced a friend to accompany him to Itaewon, ultimately surviving alone, as well as a Korean who had to witness his unconscious friend in the midst of the chaos.

Some interviewees in the trailer emphasize, “What transpired in Itaewon is not an accident; it’s a man-made disaster, not a mere coincidence.” Additionally, the documentary underscores the inadequacies of the police response during the incident by revealing the recordings of 11 emergency calls made at that time.

In an interview with The Guardian, documentary producer Josh Gainer remarked, “The Itaewon disaster was neither a terrorist attack nor a shooting; it was a tragedy resulting from an unimaginable incident. This event remains etched as a traumatic experience not only for those present at the scene but for all Koreans.”

Despite the availability of the documentary on Paramount+, it is inaccessible in South Korea. When attempting to play the video, users encounter a “404 error” message indicating that the video cannot be found. Similarly, the official YouTube trailer for the documentary also displays an error message, preventing viewers from playing the content.

South Korea’s JTBC News has sought explanations from various sources, including Paramount and video production companies, but has not received a specific response regarding the unavailability of the documentary in South Korea. The Itaewon Disaster Citizens’ Countermeasures Committee, in a call with JTBC, has expressed their intent to investigate the root causes behind the unavailability of the video.

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