The United Kingdom government has fined Loveworld Channel, founded by Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, £125,000 for unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about COVID-19.
The religious satellite TV is owned by Believers’ Loveworld Incorporated popularly known as Christ Embassy. Oyakhilome is the BLW President.
Office of Communications (Ofcom), the regulatory authority for broadcasting in the UK announced the sanction on Wednesday.
The agency said a 29-hour programme, the Global Day of Prayer, breached rules by presenting “potentially harmful” claims about coronavirus.
The programme aired from December 1 2020, claimed that the pandemic was a “planned” event created by the “deep state” for nefarious purposes.
The broadcast asserted that the COVID-19 vaccine is a plot to administer nanochips to control people.
The Loveworld telecast further linked coronavirus to the rollout of 5G technology, a postulation long debunked.
Ofcom noted that the breach followed previous, similar breaches in 2020 during the investigation.
The regulator recalled how the channel gave a number of assurances as to how it would improve its compliance procedures.
“The inaccurate and potentially harmful claims made during this programme were unsupported by any factual evidence and went entirely without challenge.”
“Loveworld’s failure to put these unsubstantiated statements into context risked serious harm to its audience”, the decision read.
It added that claims put out undermined confidence in public health measures meant to tackle COVID-19 at a time when hospital admissions and deaths were rising.
The latest penalty is the second time in one year Ofcom has ruled against the channel. The first was in 2020.