British regulator Ofcom Wednesday fined Loveworld Television Ministry owned by Nigerian pastor Chris Oyakhilome for peddling unsubstantiated claims about COVID-19.
The broadcaster is to pay £125,000 (N65.6m) for broadcasting claims that were “inaccurate and potentially harmful.”
The TV station was found to have breached broadcasting rules in January during its 29-hour show titled The Global Day of Prayer aired in 2020. The station was previously sanctioned in May 2020.
Many of the claims were “unsupported by any factual evidence and went entirely without challenge,” the watchdog said on Wednesday.
“Loveworld’s failure to put these unsubstantiated statements into context risked serious harm to its audience,” Ofcom said in a statement.
“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 was accused of featuring sermons rife with claims that the virus was “planned” by the “deep state” and that the vaccination drives that trailed the pandemic were a way of injecting people with nanochips to control them.