The BBC has apologised for a "significant scheduling error" which led to a graphic BBC documentary on alleged human rights abuses in Sri Lanka being broadcast before the watershed.
Our World – Sri Lanka's Unfinished War was broadcast on BBC1 and the BBC News Channel last November and was today found in breach of Ofcom's broadcasting code.
It featured various men and women giving accounts of alleged torture and sexual abuse. The material also included images of dead, naked women and images of scars reportedly inflicted on Tamils.
Ofcom received one complaint about the documentary, which was broadcast at 5.30am.
The BBC said the programme was editorially assessed for post-watershed transmission only and added: "This was a significant scheduling error for which the BBC apologises."
The broadcaster said in its defence that audiences do not expect children's programming to be shown at this time on BBC1 and that a strong editorial warning was provided before the documentary began.
Ofcom said in its ruling: "We were concerned that this material was broadcast on these channels when there was the potential for children to come across this potentially distressing material.
"In Ofcom’s view some of the images and descriptions of the alleged abuses were quite graphic and so capable of causing considerable offence to some viewers, especially those who came across them unawares."