Asia-Pacific

China TV 'substitutes Top Gun for air force footage'

US actor Tom Cruise in Top Gun
Image caption US actor Tom Cruise starred in the 1986 Hollywood film Top Gun

China's state broadcaster used footage that appears to have been taken from a Hollywood film in one of its news reports - but not for the first time.

A China Central Television story about the country's air force showed an explosion that was identical to a scene from the 1986 film Top Gun.

The broadcaster often uses film clips in its news reports.

A person familiar with the company said it was currently trying to set up a system to contain this situation.

The disputed scene was aired on CCTV's main news bulletin on 23 January.

It was in a report about a training exercise undertaken by the People's Liberation Army's air force.

There were interviews with senior military figures.

Over pictures of fighter jets in action, the reporter told viewers that this was a live-fire exercise and all targets had been hit.

One scene showed a pilot firing a missile. A plane was then hit before exploding into flames.

But some keen-eyed observers posted comments on the internet claiming that the scene was identical to one in Top Gun, starring Hollywood actor Tom Cruise.

One person familiar with the way CCTV works said this would not be the first time movie footage was used in a news report.

"There are other cases of the deliberate use of inappropriate footage," he said.

Sometimes it happened because picture editors and reporters were being lazy, or the footage was simply too good not to use, said the source.

It occurs mostly in stories about the military, or science and technology. This is because it can be difficult to spot inconsistencies.

CCTV does not always tell viewers the footage is not genuine or pay royalties for the film and TV clips it uses.

A few years ago the European Union's then-trade commissioner, Peter Mandelson, complained that CCTV had never paid any royalties to EU copyright holders.

An editor on the CCTV news programme that broadcast the "Top Gun" footage declined to comment.

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