Ofcom to assess Eamonn Holmes' 5G conspiracy theory comments

The broadcasting watchdog said it would look into comments made by the presenter after it received more than 400 complaints from viewers.

Eamonn Holmes is facing an Ofcome investigation after he questioned the “mainstream media’s” narrative on a 5G conspiracy theory.

Fake news posts claiming that 5G internet helps to spread coronavirus have grown in recent weeks, and have led some people to cause criminal damage to internet masts.

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

In a segment on the topic on ITV’s This Morning, the 60-year-old told fellow presenter Alice Beer “I don’t accept is mainstream media immediately slapping that down as not true when they don’t know it’s not true.

Eamonn HOles faces an investigation by Ofcom.

“No-one should attack or damage or do anything like that but it’s very easy to say it is not true because it suits the state narrative.”

The presenter added: “That’s all I would say, as someone with an inquiring mind.”

Holmes’ comments have since received 419 complaints from viewers, according to Ofcom. A spokeswoman for the regulator said it was “assessing this programme in full as a priority.”

ITV have yet to comment on the controversy.

Ofcom is also assessing comments made by infamous conspiracy theorist David Icke about coronavirus.

Viewers criticised Holmes’ comments and accused him of “legitimising” the conspiracy theories, and many in the scientific community called his intervention unhelpful.

Prof Brendan Wren, professor of microbial parthogenesis at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: “I welcome enquiring minds, but this needs to be based on some fact and not pedalled as a conspiracy as this causes untold damage.”

Dr Michael Head, senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton, said: “The world of infectious disease experts, covering a wide range of disciplines, backgrounds, countries and employers are united in that we know how transmission of a virus works.

“Holmes is not known for his scientific expertise and appears to have very little in the way of relevant qualifications, experience or any kind of written track record in peer-reviewed journals.”

Dr Simon Clarke, associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, said that the idea that Covid-19 is caused by 5G mobile signals is “complete rubbish”.

A Government spokesman said: “We are aware of a number of attacks on phone masts and abuse of telecoms engineers apparently inspired by crackpot conspiracy theories circulating online.

“Those responsible for these criminal acts will face the full force of the law.”

A message from the Editor

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

Subscribe to scotsman.com and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Frank O'Donnell

Editorial Director

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.