Guangdong Television has apologized for hiring bikini models to deliver weather forecasts as part of its coverage of the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, the Yangcheng Evening News reported on Thursday.

On June 8 before the start of the games, two women in black and orange bikinis appeared on Guangdong TV's sports channel and delivered the weather reports for Poland and Ukraine, where the games are being held.

The video was posted on the Internet and stirred debate.

Zhou Chun, director of the sports channel, was quoted by the Yangcheng Evening News as saying that the hosts were already wearing sportswear on the June 10 broadcast.

He said that the hosts wore inappropriate clothing in the first broadcast and that the TV station apologizes for that.

He added that, even though we live in more tolerant times, hosts should dress appropriately because they have influential jobs.

On June 12, the People's Daily newspaper published a comment criticizing the broadcast. The comment said that high ratings should depend on good content, not on nudity.

"Media outlets are obsessed with innovation and always try to use extraordinary ways to get attention, but they should never get off track," the comment said.

Wang Ming, an employee at an export and import company, said that he thinks the media and netizens are "making a big deal out of nothing".

"I think the bikini broadcasting was good, it goes well with the football games spirit," Wang said.

Ma Zhuoran, an employee at a media firm, said that as a football fan he liked the broadcast. However, he also said that children should not have been allowed to watch it since China doesn't have a parental TV ratings system yet.

Meanwhile, Li Denghui, who works as an editor at a website, said that she thinks that the TV station shouldn't have used the bikini models to attract attention.

"It's too much," she said. "I think that you must do things according to specific occasions and locations and bikinis have nothing to do with weather reports. It's not a playground or a swimming pool."

Liu Qiaoling, a newspaper editor, also disagreed with the broadcast.

"I'm rather conservative. I think it went too far and I think that without a rating system such broadcasts will affect children," she said.

Zhou Xiaozheng, a sociologist at Renmin University of China, said that he thinks that the show wasn't inappropriate.

"A host wears whatever he or she likes to wear. Beach volleyball players also wear bikinis and they are also on TV, what's the big deal?" he said.

An online survey by the People's Daily website showed that out of the 6,940 respondents, 49.6 percent believed that the show was in bad taste, while 46.9 percent said that they think the show was acceptable.

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