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ITV reprimanded for mistakenly showing 'IRA' video game footage

The UK media regulator said ITV “breached audience trust” by showing footage purporting to be of an IRA attack – but which actually came from a video game.

A screengrab of the videogame footage shown in the ITV documentary
A screengrab of the videogame footage shown in the ITV documentary
Image: Screengrab via YouTube

ITV HAS BEEN reprimanded for broadcasting footage which purported to show IRA members shooting down a British Army helicopter – but in fact came from a video game.

Media regulator Ofcom said today that ITV’s mistake in a current affairs programme which aired last September was a “significant breach of audience trust”.

ITV had said the mistake was the result of “human error and not an intention to mislead viewers”.

“Exposure: Gaddafi and the IRA” investigated the financial and military links between former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddaf and the IRA. It was shown on ITV on 26 September last year.

The current affairs programme showed footage with the caption “IRA Film 1988″ which purported to show a video taken by the IRA of fellow members shooting down a British Army helicopter with a heavy machine gun in June 1988.

Instead, the footage came from a tactical shooter video game called Arma 2.

Ofcom said that viewers were misled to believe that the footage was authentic but that the “potential harm caused” was limited as it was not purporting to make “new or significant allegations against particular organisations or individuals”.

In a separate complaint about the same programme, Ofcom also criticised ITV for running footage of rioters and police clashing. The programme said the footage came from July 2011 but it was revealed to have been taken several years earlier.

UK broadcaster mistakes computer game attack for real ‘IRA film’

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