French TV apologises over Gaza footage mix-up

7th January 2009, Comments 0 comments

The public broadcaster used amateur footage shot in 2005 to illustrate the ongoing war in Gaza.

PARIS – France's public broadcaster was forced to apologise to viewers Tuesday after it mistakenly used amateur footage shot in 2005 to illustrate a report on the current Gaza conflict.

France 2 television on Monday broadcast part of an amateur video presented in a voiceover commentary as showing the fallout from an Israeli airstrike on a civilian area in Gaza on January 1.

Dating from September 2005, the video, which has been widely circulated on the Internet, actually shows civilians wounded in the accidental explosion of a pick-up truck loaded with Hamas rockets at a rally in Jabaliya refugee camp.

Alerted by the French website, France 2 admitted its mistake on Tuesday and made a formal apology to viewers in its midday news broadcast.

"It is an error on our behalf. There was an internal malfunction in the checking of information," a France 2 executive told AFP.

France 2's head of news reporting, Etienne Leenhardt, told the sequence was "intended to illustrate the war of images on the Internet. The people who put it together worked too fast".

Israel unleashed its "Operation Cast Lead" on Hamas on 27 December with a massive air bombardment of Gaza, and poured in thousands of ground troops a week later.

Since then, at least 580 Palestinians have been killed, nearly 100 of them children, and more than 2,700 wounded, according to Gaza medics.

[AFP / Expatica]

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