A religious broadcast channel, Loveworld, owned by charismatic Nigerian Pastor, Chris Oyakhilome has been sanctioned by the Office of Communications in the United Kingdom (Ofcom).
The station according to Ofcom was fined £125,000 (N65.6m) for breaching the country’s broadcasting code by disseminating misinformation on COVID-19.
Oyakhilome, had in the last one year encouraged his members to ignore COVID-19 protocols and recently asked them not to take the vaccines for the virus.
In a statement Ofcom said on December 1, 2020, Loveworld aired a 29-hour programme called the Global Day of Prayer, during which claims were made about the COVID-19.
The regulatory agency noted that the claims included the notion that the outbreak was ‘planned’, that the ‘sinister’ vaccine can be used to implant ‘nanochips’ that can control and cause harm to members of the public.
Ofcom expressed disappointment, saying it was unfortunate that the station could continue to spread such false information despite previous warnings.
Part of the statement read: “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.
“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”.