Religious satellite TV channel Loveworld has been fined £125,000 after it aired unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about coronavirus.
An investigation by Ofcom found a 29-hour programme, the Global Day of Prayer, breached broadcasting rules by presenting “potentially harmful” claims about Covid-19.
It is the second time in a year the watchdog has ruled against the channel for statements made on air about the virus.
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 (@Ofcom) March 31, 2021
The programme, which aired from December 1 2020, contained claims the pandemic is a “planned” event created by the “deep state” for nefarious purposes and that the vaccine is a “sinister” means of administering “nanochips” to control and harm people.
Other claims included the debunked conspiracy theory linking the cause of Covid-19 to the rollout of 5G technology.
Ofcom had previously ordered Loveworld not to repeat the programme and to broadcast a summary of its decision three times in a day.
It has now ordered the further sanction of a fine after concluding the breaches were “serious, repeated and reckless”.
A statement from Ofcom said: “Loveworld’s failure to put these unsubstantiated statements into context risked serious harm to its audience.
“They had the potential to undermine confidence in public health measures put in place to tackle Covid-19 – at a time when cases, hospital admissions and deaths were rising in the UK, and when people were looking for reliable information given advances in the vaccination programme.”
Loveworld is a religious television channel broadcast on satellite to a UK audience, from an Evangelical Christian denomination with a global network of churches.
Loveworld has been contacted for comment.