Religious satellite TV channel Loveworld has been fined £125,000 after airing Covid-19 conspiracy theories.
Ofcom took action after concluding the Evangelical Christian network’s coverage of the pandemic had been “harmful”. The network broadcasts in many locations across the globe, including the UK.
The fine came after the channel breached the regulator’s rules on accuracy for a second time by claiming Covid-19 had been a “planned event” created by the “deep state”.
Loveworld had previously been given a warning for promoting these theories back in January.
The channel also claimed the coronavirus vaccine is a “sinister” means of administering “nanochips” to control and harm people. Loveworld was also punished for making outlandish links to the virus’ supposed relationship with 5G technology.
This took place during the Loveworld’s 29-hour broadcast event, Global Day of Prayer. It featured sermons, prayers, and scripture readings featuring worrying conspiracy-led content.
Ofcom called the channel’s coverage “serious, repeated and reckless”, after Loveworld previously said it would stamp out any further reasons for concern.
The regulator 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” but that in this case the channel had no factual basis for their claims.
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”.
The report can be read in full here.