The BBC has confirmed it will return the Royal Television Society (RTS) award it won for a documentary it made about clothing retailer Primark, after its governing body the BBC Trust admonished the public broadcaster for “serious failings” in the making of the program.
The decision comes after the BBC Trust’s Editorial Standards Committee (ESC) earlier this month ruled that a Panorama program entitled Primark: On the Rack, broadcast in June 2008, breached BBC editorial guidelines on accuracy and fairness.
The program, which investigated the retail chain’s claims that it can deliver “cheap, fast fashion” without breaking ethical guidelines, included footage obtained in a Bangalore workshop of three boys carrying out an activity described in the program as “testing the stitching” on Primark garments.
The ESC examined a substantial body of material relating to the footage and concluded that, although it was not able to say beyond reasonable doubt that the footage was fake, it was “more likely than not” that the footage was not genuine.
In a statement, a BBC spokesman said: “The BBC has apologized for including a short section of film which could not be authenticated in the Panorama program Primark: On the Rack. We acknowledge that a serious error was made and therefore it would be inappropriate to keep the RTS award.”