May 19, 2024

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COVID-19: UK slams Christ Embassy N65.6m fine for unethical broadcast

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Pastor Chris Oyakhilome

The government of the United Kingdom’s, UK, broadcast regulatory agency, Office of Communications, (OfCOM), has dropped a fine of £125,000 (N65.6m) on the laps of Pastor Chris Oyakhilome’s religious channel, ‘Loveworld’, which operates under the auspices of Christ Embassy.

A media statement by the OfCOM, explained that the fine was imposed on the channel for breaching the country’s broadcasting code by disseminating misinformation on COVID-19 in some of the sermons aired on the station.

The agency accused the station of making claims it could not substantiate which included the notion that the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic was ‘planned’.

Another charge preferred against the station was the claim in its broadcast that the ‘sinister’ vaccine can be used to implant ‘nanochips’ that can control and cause harm to members of the public. Also levelled against the station was its claim about the debunked theory that the virus was somehow caused by 5G.

The agency said it was unfortunate that the station could continue to spread such information despite previous warnings.

It can be recalled that on 1st December 2020, the radio station, Loveworld, aired a marathon program called the, Global Day of Prayer, during which all manners of unproven claims were made about the COVID-19.

Hence, the official verdict by the UK broadcast media regulatory body reads thus; “Today we have fined Loveworld £125,000.00 for this breach of the broadcasting code”.

The OfCOM media statement further explained the rationale for the fine thus, “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,” said Ofcom.

“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 program 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 agency sa

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