ITC fines Sky News for Forlong report

Sky News has been fined £50,000 by the Independent Television Commission for broadcasting a fabricated news report by reporter James Forlong during the war in Iraq.

The watchdog found the report breached its codes on accuracy.

Forlong resigned from Sky in July and committed suicide in October.

His report, which aired on 31 March and was pooled for use by ITN, filmed the submarine HMS Splendid to make it appear as though the vessel was out at sea when it was in fact docked.

The report also included images of a cruise missile being fired after Forlong said HMS Splendid was “beneath the waters of the Persian Gulf… moments before a cruise missile is launched”, when it was neither beneath the waters nor ready to fire.

Sky News later admitted the images were library footage after a BBC Two documentary crew also filming on the submarine exposed the fakery, sparking an internal investigation at the satellite broadcaster.

The ITC met on 19 November and found that the report breached two sections of the programme code, concluding it “had not been presented with due accuracy”.

It added that because the report had labelled the missile firing sequence as a reconstruction of real events, “viewers were misled as to the nature of what they were watching”.

By Wale Azeez

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