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Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
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25 December 2014
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News story involving ‘Happy Xmas’ from the BBC

… Channel That’s TV has been found in breach of three of Ofcom’s broadcasting codes based around violence on screen and the watershed, suitability for children and potential to cause offence.

The channel featured a range of Christmas-themed programmes last year including The Best Christmas Ad-Free, which contained an uninterrupted sequence of Christmas-music videos.

Ofcom received one complaint about the inclusion of a music video that accompanied the song Happy Xmas (War is Over) by John Lennon and Yoko Ono in a broadcast on Christmas Eve at 2300 GMT.

The music video contained real-life video footage and imagery of the aftermath of war, including footage of an adult holding what appeared to be the body of a dead child wrapped in fabric and a deceased child in an open coffin.

The channel confirmed that the music video was broadcast 17 times during episodes of The Best Christmas Ad-Free between 24 and 28 December 2020 and that 11 of these broadcasts occurred before the watershed.

On each occasion, it was shown in between music videos of other well-known Christmas songs such as Walking in the Air and All I Want For Christmas Is You.

In mitigation, That’s TV explained that it held two music videos for the song Happy Xmas (War is Over) in its archive – one that was released in 1992 (which was intended to be included in the programme), and a second version produced in 2003 which contained images of the aftermath of war.

It said it had only approved the 1992 version for broadcast but, due to human error, the 2003 video was accidentally inserted into the schedule instead.

Following the incident, it has reviewed its procedures to minimise any risk of a similar occurrence.

While Ofcom acknowledged human error was to blame, its report noted that “these errors were not identified by the licensee over the 17 instances the video was played over a four day period”.

The promo is on youtube but behind age verification.

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