ITV documentary that featured ARMA 2 footage declared "materially misleading" by regulator

ITV IRA ARMA 2 film fail

In September last year, an ITV documentary, Gaddafi and the IRA, ran a clip that they claimed to show an IRA attack on a helicopter. It was actually footage from ARMA 2 . While most of the world facepalmed, British TV regulator, Ofcom, launched an investigation. Their verdict is in. They're not impressed.

The Guardian report Ofcom's findings, which declared the film "materially misleading" and labelled the error "a significant breach of audience trust, particularly in the context of a public service broadcaster."

ITV said that a compliance officer had expressed concern about the footage, but the producers failed to check it. "We considered that there were clear deficiencies in the steps taken by both production and compliance staff for sourcing and verifying the archival content of the helicopter attack in this programme," Ofcom concluded.

Bohemia CEO Mark Spanel told us that he was "surprised our games apparently may look real enough to some users already that they can not tell it is not real life footage,” adding "I just briefly watched the entire documentary and I still can not believe it as it is overall very serious and lenghtly feature.” We couldn't believe it either.

Later in the same documentary, footage described as showing riot in Northern Ireland in 2011 was actually of a different riot that occurred years before. ITV blamed deadline pressures and "human error" for both blunders and asserted that the clips were "not a deliberate attempt to mislead viewers."

They've also promised to improve their compliance procedures, which hopefully means they'll start watching their films before broadcasting them. Here's the clip that was accidentally used in the program.

Tom Senior

Part of the UK team, Tom was with PC Gamer at the very beginning of the website's launch—first as a news writer, and then as online editor until his departure in 2020. His specialties are strategy games, action RPGs, hack ‘n slash games, digital card games… basically anything that he can fit on a hard drive. His final boss form is Deckard Cain.