"Miracle" spring water lands BEN TV in hot water

Satellite channel hit with £25,000 fine after promoting "cancer-curing" spring water.

The operators of BEN TV (Sky channel 175) have been fined by broadcast regulator Ofcom for breaching UK broadcasting rules, and will now be obligated to screen a summary of Ofcom's findings.

In January 2018, Greener Technology Limited's BEN TV channel 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.

That broadcast landed the channel in hot water with Ofcom, with the regulator ruling that 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.

BEN TV broadcasts on a free-to-air basis via Sky's satellite TV service on channel 175. The channel was briefly removed from Sky's channel list in September, but was re-added last week.