Sky fined £50,000 for falsified war report

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Sky News has been fined £50,000 by the Independent Television Commission for broadcasting a fake news report during the Iraq war.

James Forlong, 44, had claimed that footage of a Cruise missile being fired at Iraq from the Navy submarine HMS Splendid, broadcast in March, was being shown live. It later emerged the film of the missile being fired was library stock and the crew members were on a practice run.

The ITC found that the report breached guidelines on accuracy and misled viewers. It ruled: "Audiences are reliant on the accuracy of news reports, particularly during times of war." But the ITC imposed the relatively low fine after concluding there were a number of mitigating factors.

The Commission noted that "Sky did not seek to evade or minimise the importance of what had occurred". It was an isolated incident "and the only occasion when Sky's reporting of the Iraq war had been called into question".

The Commission also noted that Mr Forlong was an experienced journalist whose reports had never previously proved to be inaccurate. He resigned in July and committed suicide three months later.