UK: Primark exposé footage ruled "fake"
Primark said it has been "vindicated" by the conclusions
A BBC documentary that showed children making garments for Primark "more likely than not" used certain fake footage, according to the media organisation's complaints panel.
The BBC Trust's Editorial Standards Committee (ESC) has directed the BBC's Panorama programme to make an on-air apology about the documentary 'Primark: On the Rack'.
The exposé, aired in June 2008, included footage of three boys testing the stitching of Primark garments in Bangalore, which was deemed unlikely to be authentic by the Trust.
It follows complaints by Primark, leading the ESC to examine tapes, emails and witness evidence from the location.
"The ESC has concluded that, although it was not able to say beyond reasonable doubt, it was more likely than not that the Bangalore footage was not genuine," the committee said.
Primark has described the findings as "extraordinary", saying the documentary was "based on fabrication and was littered with poor journalistic practices".
However, the ESC said despite its failings, the programme had still found evidence elsewhere that Primark was contravening its own ethical guidelines.
Primark said it did not accept other footage - of a boy and a girl in a refugee camp - as genuine either, but did not intend to pursue the matter. It said there was no other footage of children working on Primark garments.
The retailer said it had been vindicated after three years and several investigations into the matter.
The Primark spokesperson added: "Sensationalising these issues by the use of fabricated journalism harms the very people whose lives retailers, trade unions and NGOs are all working to improve.
"Panorama can be a fine maker of documentaries and, at its best, it is to be applauded, but the programme carries responsibilities which were disregarded."
Meanwhile, an apology will be broadcast on BBC One at the beginning or end of a forthcoming Panorama programme, the ESC added. An apology will also run on the Panorama website.
The ESC has requested that the BBC Executive considers its position in connection with a Royal Television Society Award given to the programme in 2009.
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