Complaints Reports

Programme Complaints & Interventions Report

These reports are case summaries of complaints which appeared to raise issues of substance in relation to the interpretation of the ITC Programme Code. Summary statistics of non-substantive complaints can be found in the full reports which are obtainable from the ITC.

Showing Complaints & Interventions Report for CENTRAL WEEKEND-LIVE

Channel: ITV (Carlton-Central)

Date & time: Friday 21 July 2000: 10.30pm

Complaint from: Newspaper publicity (upheld)

Background

The studio-based current affairs programme Central Weekend-Live included an item about the influence of television soap operas on people’s lives. Some months after the broadcast it came to light that two of the people featured, involved with a “soap clinic”, had proved to be hoaxers.

Issue

No viewer complaints were received. ITC staff pursued the matter, after a hoax claim made by a national newspaper in its article about art hoaxes. As a result of the broadcast viewers were misled into thinking what they had seen was factually correct.

Assessment

ITC staff investigated the matter carefully, in relation to information previously sent by Carlton-Central concerning its in-house procedures for the avoidance of hoaxing. The broadcaster also carried out an internal enquiry into how the two hoaxers were engaged to appear on the programme. Both had signed the regular disclaimer form used by the company. Programme research had not thrown up any reasons why the two people were not credible. However, Carlton agreed that the programme had been a victim of hoaxers, and that more effective pre-transmission checking could have avoided this. It advised the ITC that it would inform viewers by providing an apology within the programme at the start of the next series.

Conclusion

There was a breach of Section 3.1 of the Programme Code which relates to licensees’ obligations of fairness and a respect for truth in all factually-based programmes. The first programme in the new Central Weekend-Live series (Friday 16 February) carried an appropriate apology to viewers.