By Ayodele Oluwafemi
The Office of Communications, (Ofcom) United Kingdom’s communications regulator, has sanctioned the Christ Embassy affiliated Loveworld Television for airing what it news and sermons the regulator described as “potentially harmful and unsubstantiated claims about causes of and treatments for Covid-19.”
The television network available to people in the UK is part of the ministry arm of Pastor Chris Oyakhilome who has long espoused miracles from God as an alternative to traditional cures.
The regulator said that the television fed its viewers with unsubstantiated claims without scientific evidence on the Coronavirus pandemic.
According to a statement by Ofcom, published on its official website it said Loveworld news in a report aired unsubstantiated claims that 5G was the cause of the pandemic, and that this was the subject of a ‘global cover-up’.
In another report during a programme it “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.”
Part of the statement reads,
“Ofcom has today imposed a sanction on Loveworld Limited, which broadcasts the religious television channel Loveworld, after a news programme and a live sermon included potentially harmful claims about Covid-19.
“Our investigation found that a report on Loveworld News included unsubstantiated claims that 5G was the cause of the pandemic, and that this was the subject of a ‘global cover-up’. 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.
“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.
“There is no ban on broadcasting controversial views which are different from, or which challenge, official authorities on public health information. 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 the serious breaches in these cases, and in order to remedy the potential harm caused as quickly as possible, Ofcom directs the Licensee to broadcast summaries of Ofcom’s Decisions in a form and manner to be decided by Ofcom.
“Ofcom is also considering whether to impose any further sanction in addnion to these directions. Whilst the Licensee expressed a readiness to broadcast a summary of Ofcom’s Decisions, It submittedt thatany additional sanction be unnecessary in light of Its cooperation and previous compliance record.
“The Ofcom Sanctions Panel will consider the matter further, following due process which provides for the Licensee to make written and oral representations to the Panel before reaching its decision.”