Independent UK news outfit ITN has escaped sanction by watchdog Ofcom after admitting to broadcasting a link to a XXX website during a 9 June news bulletin.
The full scale of the outrage is explained in Ofcom's broadcast bulletin number 39 (PDF), released yesterday. The fun-packed issue declares:
A viewer complained that a video clip about children playing on railway lines displayed a website address for a site containing hard core pornography. The viewer had accessed the site on the assumption that it was related to the news item and was shocked by the content.
For its part, ITN explained:
ITN said that it had been aware before transmission that the video clip included a visible website address and understood the need to check the site’s content. It had attempted to enter the website, but was denied access. It therefore presumed that the site was no longer active and that there was no need to obscure the address on screen.
Fair enough, simple mistake, nothing to see here, move along...
But hold on a minute, the reason the news team could not access the website is this:
However it subsequently realised that access had been denied by the firewall on ITN’s own internal computer system, which prevents access to such sites.
Sigh. In light of ITN's evident lack of web savvy, we at El Reg hereby invite the entire ITV News research staff to a two-hour seminar at Vulture Central entitled "A beginner's guide to the internet: what it is and how it works." There will then be a short recess for organic virgin thigh-rolled prawn* sandwiches and wheat grass juice after which the participants can gain further enlightenment by browsing some of our own favourite sites on kids, railway lines and hot Dutch girl-on-girl-on-girl-on-boy. Firewall permitting, naturally.
Meanwhile, we accept ITN's apology on behalf of an outraged Middle England:
ITN accepted that the website address should not have been included in the broadcast, and apologised for the error which had led to its inclusion in the lunchtime bulletin. The importance of stringent checks has been reinforced to editorial staff.
That's right, the next time you need to check a racy url, leave the ITN building, proceed to the nearest internet cafe and stringently access the domain in question before running back to the office shouting: "Don't run VT, for the love of all that's Holy..." ®
*Vegetarian option: organic virgin thigh-rolled prawn sandwiches without the organic virgin thigh-rolled prawns. Please request in advance.