UK radio station breaks Ofcom rules by spreading 5G coronavirus link

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The 5G industry’s battle against misinformation around the alleged link between the spread of coronavirus and 5G technology has taken a surreal turn, as Ofcom – the UK’s office of communications – ruled that Uckfield FM, a community radio station based in the town of Uckfield, East Sussex, had broken its broadcasting rules.

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


The investigation came after two complaints were submitted, when a guest on the radio station alleged that the outbreak of Covid-19 in Wuhan, China, had been caused by 5G technology. 

“Our investigation found that a guest on this programme expressed potentially harmful views about the causes and origins of Covid-19,” explained a spokesperson for Ofcom. “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.”

5G accusations

The caller to the station identified themselves as a registered nurse, before launching into a series of theories, which culminated with an accusation that 5G limits the amount of oxygen that can enter the human body, and a belief that Wuhan had been used as a testbed for what they said is a manmade virus. 

None of these theories have any science to support them, yet the presenter didn’t challenge the statements sufficiently.

In its report findings, Ofcom outlined that it is currently prioritising cases related to the coronavirus, which could cause harm to audiences. And according to the UK regulator this can include:

  • health claims related to the virus which may be harmful;
  • medical advice which may be harmful; and,
  • accuracy or materially misleadingness in programmes in relation to the virus or public policy regarding it.

Uckfield FM, which broadcasts from studios at Bird In Eye Farm, which is to the south east of the town, must now broadcast a statement of Ofocm’s findings on a date and form to be decided by Ofcom.

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Dan Oliver

Dan is a British journalist with 20 years of experience in the design and tech sectors, producing content for the likes of Microsoft, Adobe, Dell and The Sunday Times. In 2012 he helped launch the world's number one design blog, Creative Bloq. Dan is now editor-in-chief at 5Gradar, where he oversees news, insight and reviews, providing an invaluable resource for anyone looking to stay up-to-date with the key issues facing 5G.