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The BBC has been ordered to apologize for its documentary Primark: On the Rack. (Credit: BBC, screenshot detail)

The BBC Trust’s Editorial Standards Committee looked into a 2008 BBC documentary, concluded it contained fake footage and has called on the BBC to issue an on-air apology.The BBC investigated this documentary after retailer Primark, the subject of the documentary, filed an appeal and complaint over the documentary.

According to Journalism.co.uk, the documentary, “Primark: On the Rack,” violated the BBC’s guidelines on “accuracy and fairness.”  The BBC’s editorial standards committee ruled that it was inaccurate and unfair because the documentary included footage that “could not be authenticated.”

Some of that fake footage showed “three boys” working in a “Bangalore workshop.” As a 2008 BBC column explained, that footage indicated that Primark employed child labor.  The BBC ruled that since that footage wasn’t verifiable, the BBC shouldn’t have run it.

The BBC Editorial Standards Committee’s ruling stated that it found “that, although it was not able to say beyond reasonable doubt, it was more likely than not that the Bangalore footage was not genuine.”

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The ruling also prohibits selling or airing the documentary in the future.

Journalism.co.uk reported that freelance journalist Dan McDougall, who worked on the documentary, criticized the ruling:

“I have rarely seen a finding so unjust in outcome, flawed in process and deeply damaging to independent investigative journalism.”

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BBC to Apologize for Documentary, May Have Contained Fake Footage

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