TF1 in hot water over news blunder

French watchdog demands explanation

Gallic watchdog the Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA) has formally requested an explanation from commercial web TF1 about its false report on the death of a missing child.

On Thursday evening, a 2-year-old boy wandered away from his parents’ holiday cottage in the heavily wooded and mountainous Drome region in southeastern France.

TF1 announced that the child had been found dead during the Friday evening edition of “20 Heures” – by far France’s most-watched news show. The toddler had in fact already been found unharmed.

Jean-Claude Dassier, TF1’s newly appointed director general of news programming, called a meeting of senior “20 Heures” staffers on Monday. TF1 will issue a statement by the end of the week.

In April, several French news organizations repeated pubcaster France 2’s blunder in reporting the death of singer and TV presenter Pascal Sevran almost three weeks before he lost his battle with cancer.