OFCOM has refused to address criticism of its decision to back Neil Oliver after a conspiracy-laden rant about “turbo cancer” on GB News.

The media watchdog has faced strong criticism after it refused to investigate Oliver’s claims that young people were dying from “turbo cancer” in record numbers and that Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla had “been all over the media predicting turbo cancers will affect a third of the world in the years ahead”.

Oliver also appeared to link his claims to Pfizer’s Covid vaccine, with an implication that the “turbo cancer” was “fuel injected, maybe with a bottle of nitrous oxide on the side for the sudden terrifying burst of speed across the line to unexpected death”.

Ofcom dismissed some 70 complaints about the segment, claiming it was permissible because Oliver had been expressing his “personal view and did not materially mislead the audience”.

The decision has been widely called out, with SNP MP John Nicolson, the party’s media spokesperson at Westminster, saying: “Another demonstration of how Ofcom has lost the plot: they’ve accepted dangerous Covid conspiracy theories are ok to broadcast by GB News anchors if a ‘personal view’.

“As my old boss [US Democrat] senator Pat Moynihan said: ‘Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.’”

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Jon Sopel, the BBC’s former North America editor, also condemned Ofcom’s decision as “nuts”.

He went on: “A presenter on a news channel uses [his] platform to advance a conspiracy theory about a cancer in children linked to vaccines which is baseless, and Ofcom says it’s fine.

“If facts don’t matter on a news channel, then where are we?”

Journalist Otto English said Ofcom had set a “dangerous precedent” with a ruling that it is “ok to spread lies”.

And law professor Paul Bernal said Ofcom had “abandoned the ‘due accuracy’ requirements in the Broadcasting Code, it seems”.

Ofcom was asked to explain how Oliver falsely quoting Pfizer CEO Bourla fell under the category of a "personal view". 

It was also asked to outline how the GB News host's claim that "otherwise healthy people of all ages are harvested in hitherto unheard of numbers by ... turbo cancer" could qualify as a personal view.

Ofcom only repeated its previous statement and did not respond to further correspondence.

Ofcom’s statement read: “In line with freedom of expression, our rules allow broadcasters to cover controversial themes and topics.

“We recognise that these brief comments were the presenter’s personal view and did not materially mislead the audience, we therefore will not be pursuing this further.”

In October, Ofcom said it had 12 open investigations into GB News.