September 28, 2020

Coronavirus: Ofcom formally probes David Icke TV interview

The UK’s media watchdog has launched a formal investigation into a TV network’s broadcast of an interview with conspiracy theorist David Icke about coronavirus.

Ofcom acted after London Live screened the programme on Wednesday evening.

The regulator received more than 40 complaints following the broadcast.

It follows YouTube’s introduction of stricter misinformation rules after a later interview with Mr Icke by the same team was streamed on its platform.

“We have assessed this programme, and we are concerned that it raises potential issues under our rules,” said a spokesman for Ofcom.

“We are now investigating as a matter of urgency.”

It intends to speak to London Live as part of the probe, and said it was making the investigation “a priority”.

Ofcom is unable to intervene before a programme has been broadcast.

But afterwards, it has the power to demand on-air corrections and issue fines. It can even withdraw a TV station’s licence to broadcast, but seldom does so.

Earlier, the culture secretary had expressed concern about the matter on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme

“Clearly that station is regulated by Ofcom. And I would be expecting Ofcom to take appropriate action,” said Oliver Dowden.

“Clearly they are independent but I will be in touch with them to understand what action they are taking in respect to that.”

A spokeswoman for London Live: “We are aware of the culture secretary’s comments, and have proactively contacted Ofcom to offer our co-operation and support as part of their assessment.”

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