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UK slams £125k fine on Loveworld over Pastor Chris’ Covid-19 broadcast

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The United Kingdom Office of Communications (OFCOM) has slammed a £125,000 fine, equivalent to N65 million, on Loveworld religious channel for broadcasting code breach over Covid-19 broadcast by Nigeria’s Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, the founder of Christ Embassy Church in Lagos.

OFCOM announced the fine on Loveworld, owned by Pastor Oyakhilome, in a statement published on Wednesday.

OFCOM stated that the fine was for breaching the broadcasting code by disseminating misinformation on Covid-19 in the European country.

In a sermon broadcasted via Loveworld on December 1, 2020, Oyakhilome had claimed that the Coronavirus pandemic was planned.

He also claimed that the vaccine can be used to implant nanochips that can control and cause harm to the public.

The cleric also hyped the baseless claim that the Covid-19 virus was somehow caused or transmitted by 5G in the 29-hour programme called the Global Day of Prayer

Reacting to the claim in the statement with the attendant fine, OFCOM stated:

“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.”

The statement further 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.

OFCOM said it was unfortunate that the station could continue to spread such information despite previous warnings.

It noted, that “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.”

Pastor Oyakhilome has regularly and openly preached negative information against the Coronavirus pandemic and Covid-19 protocols.

Recently, he was seen on tape urging his members not to take Covid-19 vaccines and berated those who have already done so.

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