UK media regulator to assess ITV programme over 5G-coronavirus conspiracy comments

FILE PHOTO: A company sign is displayed outside an ITV studio in London, Britain July 27, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s media regulator Ofcom is assessing an ITV (ITV.L) programme after a presenter questioned why the mainstream media had slapped down a conspiracy theory linking the spread of the coronavirus to 5G masts.

Hosting ‘This Morning’ on Britain’s biggest free-to-air commercial broadcaster on Monday, Eamonn Holmes said the media did not know if there was any link between the telecommunication equipment and the pandemic which had killed 11,329 in Britain by Sunday.

Ofcom said it had received 419 complaints so far.

“We are assessing this programme in full as a priority,” a spokeswoman said. ITV did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Britain’s cabinet officer minister, Michael Gove, and senior health officials have described the 5G conspiracy theory as dangerous fake news after people vandalised mobile phone masts and abused telecoms staff in recent weeks.

Telecoms companies including the biggest EE (BT.L) and Vodafone (VOD.L) have said the attacks are threatening connectivity at a time when it is needed more than ever during the lockdown.

Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by Guy Faulconbridge

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