ITV blasted over game footage in IRA doc

ITV blasted over game footage in IRA doc
Footage or gameplay?

Ofcom has ruled that the documentary that used Arma 2 video game footage and claimed it was the IRA bringing down a helicopter is in breach of broadcasting rules.

The documentary Exposure: Gaddafi and the IRA caused a huge furore when it used in-game footage as part of its documentary – eventually admitting the mistake and claiming human error.

Not surprisingly broadcasting watchdog Ofcom has taken a dim view of the goings on, however, noting that Rule 2.2 of the Communications Act of 2003 was breached and that this represented a "significant breach of audience trust, particularly in the context of a public service broadcaster."

Not sufficient

"It is not sufficient for a broadcaster or programme maker to rely on footage provided by a third-party source, on the basis that that source had previously supplied other broadcasters with archive footage, and fail to confirm the details of archive film provided," said Ofcom.

"We take into account that ITV: apologised; removed the programme from its catch-up video-on-demand service; and, has now put in place various changes to its compliance procedures to ensure such incidents do not happen in future.

"However, the viewers of this serious current affairs programme were misled as to the nature of the material they were watching. In the circumstances, this represented a significant breach of audience trust, particularly in the context of a public service broadcaster.

"As such, Ofcom considered the programme to be materially misleading, in breach of Rule 2.2. Ofcom was particularly concerned by this compliance failure by ITV. We do not expect any issues of a similar nature to arise in future."

Slapped wrists all round then, although ITV has now put some new systems in place to make sure that we don't see, for instance, footage of Gordon Freeman taking down a Strider on Tonight with Trevor McDonald.

They've probably cancelled the documentary on small Italian plumbers single-handedly decimating the reptile population as well.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.