Ofcom has imposed a £25,000 fine on Greener Technology Limited in relation to its service BEN TV for failing to comply with our broadcasting rules. It has also directed the licensee to not repeat the programme and to broadcast a summary of our findings on the channel.
On 28 January 2018, Ben TV broadcast Peter Popoff Ministries, a programme featuring footage from televangelist Peter Popoff’s religious services. The programme contained frequent invitations for viewers to order “free miracle spring water” and a number of testimonies from individuals who claimed, or strongly implied, using the water had cured serious illnesses, including cancer.
As set out in Ofcom’s Decision published on 3 December 2018 in issue 367 of the Broadcast and On Demand Bulletin, Ofcom considered that the claims made in the programme had the potential to cause harm to members of the audience who may have been led to believe that the “miracle spring water” alone was sufficient to cure their health conditions and that it was unnecessary to rely on, or continue receiving, conventional medical treatment.
Ofcom concluded that Greener Technology Limited did not take steps to provide adequate protection for such viewers and there was a material risk that susceptible members of the audience may have been improperly exploited by the programme. Ofcom also concluded that the programme promoted a product – the “miracle spring water” in breach of the Broadcasting Code.
Ofcom has imposed a sanction on the Licensee of a financial penalty of £25,000. Ofcom has also directed the Licensee to not repeat the programme and to broadcast a statement of Ofcom’s findings on dates and in a form to be determined by Ofcom.