UK regulator sanctions Oyakhilome’s LoveWorld TV for falsely linking COVID-19 to 5G

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LoveWorld Television Ministry, the Christian TV channel founded by Chris Oyakhilome, has been sanctioned for falsely linking 5G to the coronavirus pandemic by Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator.

According to Ofcom, “LoveWorld News featured potentially harmful statements about the coronavirus pandemic and adequate protection was not provided to viewers,”

A statement issued by the regulator on Monday in London alleged that programmes aired in early April by Oyakhilome’s LoveWorld disseminated unfounded conspiracy linking spread of coronavirus to the roll-out of 5G networks.  

“We have imposed a sanction on the broadcaster, requiring it to broadcast statements of our findings. We are considering whether to impose any further sanction,” the statement added.

Oyakhilome’s Loveworld, also known as Christ Embassy is the  third broadcaster to be sanctioned by Ofcom for making potentially harmful claims about coronavirus and 5G.  London Live and radio station Uckfield FM had earlier be sanctioned for similar offence by the communications watchdog. Christ Embassy is based in Lagos but has operations in several countries across the world, including the United States and the United Kingdom.

The church has at least 90 branches in the UK and an estimated 13 million followers around the world, according to one estimate.

In heavily circulated footage of sermons on social media, Oyakhilome has condemned the deployment of 5G and warning that the technology was responsible for COVID-19. He had since shifted grounds in other social media footages.

Additional source: CKN News, Independent (UK)

Ofcom full statement

Decision – Loveworld Limited

18 May 2020

Ofcom has today imposed a sanction on the licensee Loveworld Limited, which broadcasts the religious television channel Loveworld, after a news programme and a live sermon included potentially harmful claims about causes of, and treatments for, 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 presented 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. These views were presented as facts without evidence or challenge.

Ofcom stresses that there is no prohibition on broadcasting controversial views which diverge from, or 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 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. We have directed Loveworld Limited to broadcast statements of our findings and are now considering whether to impose any further sanction.

Decision – Loveworld Limited (PDF, 648.5 KB)

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