Pastor Chris Oyakhilome‘s LoveWorld Television Ministry has been sanctioned by Communications regulator in the United Kingdom, Ofcom, for airing false and “potentially harmful statements” about the COVID-19 Virus.
Ofcom, in a statement on Monday, said the Christian channel aired a sermon that promoted a baseless conspiracy that the virus is linked to the roll-out of 5G network and that there is a “global coverup”.
Oyakhilome had made the remarks in April which was also aired in Nigeria.
Loveworld also claimed without proof that hydroxychloroquine was a cure for COVID-19.
The regulator’s statement read: “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 suggested 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.”
The channel, it said, will not be fined in monetary terms but is required to broadcast the agency’s findings which debunked its false news and sermon.
Ofcom though warned about a further sanction: “We are considering whether to impose any further sanction,” the statement added.
The regulator also sanctioned London Live and radio station, Uckfield FM, for airing similar false claims without them being sufficiently challenged.
Oyakhilome’s Loveworld, also known as Christ Embassy, is based in Lagos but has operations in several countries across the world, including South Africa, the United States and the United Kingdom.
An estimate puts the church’s branches in the UK at 90 with around 13 million followers around the world.