News Channel, 30 August 2014: Finding by the Editorial Complaints Unit

The channel re-broadcast an item about the first anniversary of the Commons vote against military intervention in Syria, originally shown in the previous evening’s edition of Newsnight. A viewer complained that footage of an attack on Syrian civilians (the authenticity of which he has questioned in another context) had been replaced in the item as re-broadcast by footage of an earlier incident. As the presenter said the footage in question had first been broadcast “just as MPs voted”, the result was misleading to viewers.

After coming off the air, the Newsnight team had replaced the original footage with less graphic footage of a different incident, with a view to making the item more suitable to be re-shown before the watershed. However, the soundtrack was not checked, and it was not noticed that the substitution rendered the presenter’s comment inaccurate. The result was inadvertently misleading to viewers of the item as re-broadcast.

Further action
The finding bas been discussed with the production team, and Newsnight’s internal compliance procedure has been amended to ensure that, in similar circumstances, the duty editor will view any picture recuts prior to approving the script.