Insights Ofcom finds that David Icke interview on London Live broke broadcasting rules


Ofcom has imposed a sanction on ESTV after an interview with David Icke on its local television channel London Live included potentially harmful content about the coronavirus pandemic.

Ofcom says that its investigation found that David Icke had expressed views that had the potential to cause significant harm to viewers in London during the pandemic. It was 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. While Ofcom acknowledged that David Icke had 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 stressed that there was no prohibition on broadcasting views that 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, Ofcom directed London Live to broadcast a summary of its findings on a date and form to be decided by Ofcom.

Ofcom is also now considering whether to impose any further sanction. While the licensee had accepted the Direction, it considered that any further sanction would be disproportionate. Ofcom notes that the licensee has the opportunity to make representations to Ofcom’s Sanctions Panel before the Panel reaches a final decision. For a link to the full Decision, click here.