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Ofcom chastises ITV for ArmA II footage passed off as IRA film

By Dan Pearson

Mon 23 Jan 2012 3:24pm GMT / 10:24am EST / 7:24am PST

ITV documentary exhibited "significant breach of audience trust"


Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom has ruled against ITV after it featured footage from ArmA II in a documentary last year, claiming that the film showed IRA guerrillas attempting to shoot down a British Army helicopter.

Footage included in the documentary, Exposure: Gaddafi and the IRA, last September was labelled as "IRA video 1988" but was actually a video of gameplay from the Bohemia Interactive title.

After viewers alerted Ofcom at the time of transmission, the broadcaster said that "this was an unfortunate case of human error for which we apologise."

In passing its judgement, Ofcom made clear that although the explanation of human error had been accepted, "There were significant and easily identifiable differences between the footage of the attack on the helicopter included in the 1989 Cook Report and the footage taken from the internet from the video game Arma 2.

"Given these marked differences, we were very surprised that the programme makers believed the footage of the helicopter attack was authentic, and we were particularly concerned that ITV failed to double-check the video game internet footage against the footage from The Cook Report, despite the concerns over the internet footage expressed by the ITV Compliance team."

The watchdog has found ITV to be in breach of the broadcasting code, in what it calls a "significant breach of audience trust".

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