Coronavirus: Christian TV channel sanctioned by Ofcom after falsely linking 5G to pandemic

Broadcasts had 'potential to cause significant harm', media watchdog says

Tom Embury-Dennis
Monday 18 May 2020 18:04 BST
Eamonn Holmes responds to backlash over 5G coronavirus controversy

A third broadcaster has been sanctioned by Britain’s media watchdog for making potentially harmful claims about coronavirus.

Ofcom said the Christian news channel Loveworld made a range of false claims about the pandemic, including touting a conspiracy theory it was being caused by 5G technology.

“Loveworld News featured potentially harmful statements about the coronavirus pandemic and adequate protection was not provided to viewers,” Ofcom said in a statement. “Additionally, statements were not presented with due accuracy."

It comes after London Live and radio station Uckfield FM were sanctioned for airing similar false claims without them being sufficiently challenged.

Ofcom said Loveworld, which is broadcast on satellite in the UK, would be required to show a statement of the watchdog’s findings, and that it was considering imposing further sanctions.

In a news show filmed in South Africa and broadcast in Britain on 7 April, Ofcom said Loveworld aired the 5G conspiracy and claimed there was a “global cover-up” of the issue.

The show, Loveworld News, also touted hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for Covid-19, without making clear the malaria drug’s efficacy regarding coronavirus is unproven.

In a later programme the same day, Nigerian pastor and Loveworld founder Chris Oyakhilome touted a bizarre conspiracy theory linking coronavirus to a Satanic plot to create a “new breed” of cyborgs.

Ofcom said those statements had “potential to cause significant harm”.

Loveworld could not be reached for comment.

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