Sunday, 24 May 2020

United Kingdom Sanctions Pastor Chris’ TV Over COVID-19, 5G Claims

The Office of Communications (Ofcom), the United Kingdom’s regulator for the communications services, has sanctioned Pastor Chris Oyakhilome’s Loveworld Limited for broadcasting potentially harmful claims about COVID-19.


Pastor Oyakhilome had, through broadcasts on the religious television channel Loveworld, owned by Loveworl Limited, made unsubstantiated claims that 5G was the cause of the pandemic and that this was the subject of a ‘global cover-up’, a release on the regulator’s website said.

“A sermon broadcast on your Loveworld also included unsubstantiated claims linking the pandemic to 5G technology, as well as claims which cast serious doubt on the necessity for lockdown measures and the motives behind official health advice on Covid-19, including in relation to vaccination,” it added in the release.

The UK’s communications services’ regulator said it had to wield the big stick on the TV station after it also found out that “another report during the programme suggested hydroxychloroquine as a ‘cure’ for COVID-19, without acknowledging that its effectiveness and safety as a treatment was clinically unproven, or making clear that it has potentially serious side effects.”

It said there is no ban on broadcasting controversial views that are different from, or which challenge, official authorities on public health information.
United Kingdom Sanctions Pastor Chris’ TV Over COVID-19, 5G Claims
United Kingdom Sanctions Pastor Chris’ TV Over COVID-19, 5G Claims

“However, given the unsubstantiated claims in both these programmes were not sufficiently put into context, they risked undermining viewers’ trust in official health advice, with potentially serious consequences for public health.

“Given these serious failings, we concluded that Loveworld Limited did not adequately protect viewers from the potentially harmful content in the news programme and the sermon, and the news reports were not duly accurate.

“Loveworld Limited must broadcast our findings and we are considering whether to impose any further sanction,” the regulator said.

The controversies generated by the broadcast and reactions in other countries, the United Kingdom inclusive, had made Nigeria’s government issue several statements, insisting that it was yet to issue licence to any telecom operator to roll out 5G technology in the country.

The Nigerian Senate had also resolved to conduct a thorough investigation to determine the status of the 5G network in the country and its technological impact on the citizens based on the controversies generated.

Nigeria’s Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, on Monday, also called on Nigerians and all stakeholders to be wary of unsubstantiated claims that could jeopardise the efforts of health workers and the government’s response to the pandemic.
United Kingdom Sanctions Pastor Chris’ TV Over COVID-19, 5G Claims
United Kingdom Sanctions Pastor Chris’ TV Over COVID-19, 5G Claims

We are not considering sanctions – NBC

Meanwhile, the National Broadcasting Commission has said it is not considering sanctioning any television or radio station airing the coronavirus conspiracy theories in the country.

Speaking to Daily Trust, NBC Assistant Director Public Affairs, Ekanem Antia, said Nigerian broadcasters should know they should not broadcast unverifiable claims.

Antia, however, warned broadcast stations against allowing programmes with unverifiable claims on their networks.

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