British broadcaster slammed over ArmA II footage

British broadcaster ITV has been penalised after last year’s scandal which saw footage of video game ArmA II included in a very serious documentary about Libyan dictator Gaddafi and his links to the Irish Republican Army.

The footage in question was claimed to be IRA guerillas shooting at a British Army helicopter, but was in fact a gameplay video from the popular shooter.

A still from the ITV documentary

A still from the ITV documentary

Viewers quickly complained to the broadcast regulator Ofcom, prompting an apology from ITV, who claimed it was merely “an unfortunate case of human error”.

Now though, Ofcom has had some time to reach a judgement on the matter. The board accepted the explanation of human error, but scoffed a little at ITV’s foolishness:

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.

ITV has been found guilty of a “significant breach of audience trust”, as well as a breach of the local broadcasting code. No announcement has been made regarding the applicable penalty.

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