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Ofcom rules against radio station over guest’s coronavirus comments

The regulator said that the rule breach amounted to ‘serious failings’ by Uckfield FM.

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(Yui Mok/PA)

(Yui Mok/PA)

(Yui Mok/PA)

Ofcom has said that a local radio station broke broadcasting rules when one of its guests suggested the Covid-19 outbreak was caused by the rollout of 5G mobile technology.

A spokeswoman for the media watchdog said that the guest’s statements “were not sufficiently challenged” and could “undermine people’s trust in the advice of mainstream sources of information”.

The rule breach, which she added amounted to “serious failings”, occurred on Sussex-based community radio station Uckfield FM.

The interviewee, who said that the outbreak in Wuhan was linked to new mobile technology, also suggested that the public are being misled over coronavirus.

Our investigation found that a guest on this programme expressed potentially harmful views about the causes and origins of Covid-19Ofcom spokeswoman

An Ofcom spokeswoman said: “Our investigation found that a guest on this programme expressed potentially harmful views about the causes and origins of Covid-19.

“We considered that her statements, which were not sufficiently challenged, had the potential to undermine people’s trust in the advice of mainstream sources of information.

“Given these serious failings, we concluded that Uckfield FM did not provide adequate protection for listeners from the potentially harmful material in this programme.

Uckfield FM must now broadcast a statement of our findings on a date and form to be decided by OfcomOfcom spokeswoman

“Uckfield FM must now broadcast a statement of our findings on a date and form to be decided by Ofcom.”

The regulator had received two complaints about the statements made by the guest.

Ofcom is currently prioritising cases linked to coronavirus where broadcasts may have helped spread misinformation about the illness.

PA Media