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June 17, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The BBC faced one of its most severe crises ever on Thursday after admitting that footage used in an award-winning report on alleged child labor in India was likely faked. The report, “Primark: On the Rack,” had aired in 2008, on the BBC’s flagship news magazine Panorama. In it, children were seen sewing clothes by hand that allegedly landed on the racks of the British retailer Primark. After a three-year investigation, the BBC Trust concluded that the scenes were “more likely than not … not genuine.” The Trust demanded that Panorama deliver an apology on the air and on its website, and it demanded that the BBC take “effective measures to ensure that the BBC can stand by the work of non-BBC journalists acting on its behalf, as well as its own journalists.” The footage used in the documentary was obtained by Dan McDougall, who is also the Africa correspondent for the London Sunday Times. The trust claimed that McDougall had purchased the garments seen in his film one day before the footage with the children working on them was shot and that the needles the children were using were “inappropriate” for the fine sequin work displayed. McDougall on Thursday denied the allegations. “I have rarely seen a finding so unjust in outcome, flawed in process and deeply damaging to independent investigative journalism,” he said.