UK Sanctions Oyakhilome’s TV Channel Over ‘Misinformation on COVID-19’

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A religious channel, Loveworld, owned by Nigerian Pastor, Chris Oyakhilome, has been fined £125,000 (N65.6m) by the Office of Communications in the United Kingdom also known as Ofcom.

In a statement, Ofcom said the station was sanctioned for breaching the UK’s broadcasting code by disseminating misinformation on COVID-19.

It is the second time in a year the channel will be sanctioned after its proprietor, Pastor Oyakhilome, was accused of disseminating false information about COVID-19 through the platform.

The cleric, who is the head of Christ Embassy,.recently urged his members not to take COVID-19 vaccine.

The regulatory body, however, said Oyakhilome’s claims ,which attracted sanction, 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 and 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.

The statement said; “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.”

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