Ofcom sanctions London Live for broadcasting David Icke interview about coronavirus

Conspiracy theorist used 80-minute segment to suggest Israel was using Covid-19 to 'test its technology'


The broadcasting watchdog has sanctioned television channel London Live for airing an 80-minute long interview with the conspiracy theorist David Icke on the coronavirus crisis, ruling his views "risked causing significant harm to viewers".

In the interview, which was shown on the first night of Passover earlier this month, Mr Icke made a bizarre claim that Israel was using the Covid 19 pandemic to "test its technology".

After a complain to Ofcom, the watchdog announced on Monday the interview broke broadcasting rules.

It said: "Our investigation found David Icke expressed views which had the potential to cause significant harm to viewers in London during the pandemic.

"We were particularly concerned by his comments casting doubt on the motives behind official health advice to protect the public from the virus.

"These claims went largely unchallenged during the 80-minute interview and were made without the support of any scientific or other evidence."

The April 8 interview with Mr Icke was conducted by entrepreneur Brian Rose and was billed as "David Icke talks about his theory behind the pandemic, the lockdown and the economic crash."

The former sports presenter has previously spoken of "the global conspiracy Rothschild-Zionism, a secret society putting its agents in places of power" – and listed Jewish people he says are part of the plot.

London Live is owned by Russian businessman Evgeny Lebedev, and broadcasts from the same offices as the Evening Standard newspaper and The Independent, which he also owns.

In its ruling, Ofcom said: "While we acknowledge that David Icke has a right to hold and express these views, they risked causing significant harm to viewers who may have been particularly vulnerable at the time of broadcast.

"Ofcom stresses that there is no prohibition on broadcasting views which diverge from or challenge official authorities on public health information.

"However, in broadcasting David Icke’s unsubstantiated views without sufficient challenge or context, ESTV failed in its responsibility to ensure that viewers were adequately protected.

"As a result, we are directing London Live to broadcast a summary of our findings on a date and form to be decided by Ofcom."

The watchdog also said it was now considering whether to impose any further sanction after confirming the breach of Rule 2.1 of the Broadcasting Code.

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