The Office of Communications in the United Kingdom, also known as Ofcom, has fined religious television channel, Loveworld, owned by Nigerian pastor, Chris Oyakhilome, the sum of N65.6 million.
According to The PUNCH, Ofcom said in a statement that the television channel was fined £125,000 (N65.6million) for breaching the country’s broadcasting code by disseminating misinformation on COVID-19.
“Today we have fined Loveworld £125,000 for this breach of the broadcasting code. This was the second time in a year that the broadcaster breached our rules on accuracy in news and harm in its coverage of the coronavirus”, the statement read in part.
It was said that on December 1 2020, Loveworld aired a 29-hour programme called the Global Day of Prayer, during which the founder of Loveworld Incorporated, Oyakhilome, made claims about COVID-19.
According to the agency, these claims included the notion that the outbreak was ‘planned’, and that the ‘sinister’ vaccine can be used to implant ‘nanochips’, as well as claim that it can control and cause harm to members of the public.
Ofcom also debunked the theory by the Nigerian pastor that the virus was caused by 5G technology.
The agency said it was unfortunate that the station could continue to spread such information despite previous warnings.
“Ofcom stresses that legitimate debate about the official response to the coronavirus pandemic is fundamental to holding public authorities to account during a global health crisis - particularly when public freedoms are curtailed and complex policy decisions are being taken.
“However, the inaccurate and potentially harmful claims made during this programme were unsupported by any factual evidence and went entirely without challenge. Ofcom was particularly concerned that this breach followed previous, similar breaches in 2020 during the investigation of which, Loveworld Limited gave Ofcom a number of assurances as to how it would improve its compliance procedures,” the statement further said.
Oyakhilome also recently asked his church members not to take COVID-19 vaccines.