'Scheduling error' blamed for breach

Sri Lankan flag The doc included distressing accounts of alleged rape and torture by Sri Lankan government forces

The BBC has blamed 'a significant scheduling error' after Ofcom ruled that it had failed to protect children from unsuitable content.

The regulator rapped the BBC for airing a documentary on alleged human rights abuses in Sri Lanka at 5.30 in the morning on BBC One and the News Channel.

Our World - Sri Lanka's Unfinished War included 'harrowing accounts' of torture and sexual abuse, allegedly carried out by Sri Lankan government forces, that could be chanced upon by children in this pre-watershed slot, said Ofcom.

Despite a warning ahead of broadcast, the BBC 'did not protect children from unsuitable material by appropriate scheduling', it ruled.

The broadcaster apologised for its scheduling mistake, which led to the programme - that had been complied for post-watershed viewing - to be shown in the early slot on the News Channel and simulcast on BBC One. It said it had changed its practices to ensure the error would not be repeated.

Ofcom also judged the material as 'potentially offensive' and 'not justified' by the context of the early morning airing, when audiences would not have expected this type of content.

Nurse in the picture

A complaint from a nurse at Freeman Hospital in Newcastle-upon-Tyne about BBC Three's Cherry Healey: Old Before My Time was also upheld.

The programme - which focused on the effects of alcohol on young people in the UK and included scenes of some being treated in the hospital - broke privacy rules when it showed the nurse several times without her consent.

Ofcom said she had 'a legitimate expectation of privacy' and that there was 'insufficient public interest' to justify the infringement.

The BBC said it was an 'oversight' that the nurse's consent had not been obtained.

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