OfCom: ITV News 'Mislead' Viewers with Two Video Segments

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See above a side-by-side comparison of a video game (left) and the ITV News report that showed the video game clip in place of footage purportedly of the IRA. (Credit: the Sun, screenshot)

OfCom ruled Jan. 23 that UK broadcaster ITV News broke OfCom standards by airing two segments with incorrect footage in September, Journalism.co.uk reported. The errors misled audiences of ITV News. OfCom is the UK broadcast regulator and also provides licenses to broadcast outlets.

One segment showed footage from a video game instead of the Irish Republican Army. The other showed footage purporting to be recent footage of riots, but turned out to be years old.


The Video Game Clip

As we wrote in September,  ITV News aired a clip from a video game called Arma 2 instead of footage from the IRA “supposedly shooting down a helicopter with weapons supplied by Muammar Gaddafi in 1988.” ITV News apologized in September over the error, which it attributed to “human error.”  At least 25 complaints were filed to OfCom.

OfCom started looking into the incident in October, according to Journalism.co.uk and found that OfCom’s program director mistook the video game footage for what was “a fuller version of the footage” of the IRA.  Journalism.co.uk noted that before airing, ITV News failed to “cross-check” the clip in question (the video game clip). Despite an ITV News staffer questioning the footage, ITV News went ahead with the broadcast.

However, OfCom found “significant and easily identifiable differences” between the Arma footage and the IRA footage, according to the Guardian.   OfCom called the error “a significant breach of audience trust.”

In its ruling, OfCom wrote in part: “We were greatly concerned that ITV and the programme makers failed to take sufficient measures to authenticate the two separate pieces of archive film footage.”

ITV Also Aired Old Footage of Rioters

OfCom also investigated complaints about a different part of that program in which ITV showed old “footage of rioters and police clashing.” While ITV News identified the footage as from July 2011, it was from “several years earlier,” according to Irish news site The Journal.

That misleading footage was revealed by viewers who spotted that the “type of police riot vehicles in the footage did not match those used in 2011,” the Guardian explained.
That error was attributed to “human error,” as well.

UK News site The Register called OfCom’s verdict a “wrist-slap” and noted ITV News didn’t get fined for the errors.  See here OfCom’s report in full.

We wrote earlier this month when OfCom revoked PressTV’s license for violating OfCom’s rules.

We have written to ITV News seeking comment and will update with any response.

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OfCom: ITV News ‘Mislead’ Viewers with Two Video Segments

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