BMJ Article Calls for Governments to “Neutralise Misinformation” and Ban Dissent in Pandemics

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by Dr Elizabeth Evans, Daily Sceptic:

As a director of the U.K. Medical Freedom Alliance, the U.K.’s most recognised and respected organisation advocating every individual’s right to informed consent, bodily autonomy and medical choice, I was shocked and appalled to read the article “Understanding and neutralising COVID-19 misinformation and disinformation“, published in the BMJ on November 22nd 2022. The article contains insinuations and unsubstantiated and unreferenced allegations concerning the UKMFA (and other organisations including HARTUsForThem and Children’s Health Defense) and which appeared to seek to undermine the contribution of our organisations to a critical debate of national importance.

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My shock at the tone and text of the article, and its inclusion in a highly respected medical journal like the BMJ, has been echoed by notable scientists and doctors around the world including Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, who posted this strongly worded tweet calling out the “authoritarian nonsense” proposed by the authors of the article, which violates “key civil rights” and is “inconsistent with long standing free speech norms in democratic countries”.

My fellow directors and I were disappointed not to have been offered the customary ‘right to reply’ by the BMJ before the article was published, and we have, therefore, been compelled to write an open letter of complaint to Dr. Karam Abbasi, the Editor in Chief of the BMJ, to be published as our rebuttal to the article (reprinted in full below). In it we comment that it is regrettable that the approach of the authors borders on the defamatory, is manifestly unscientific, and falls short of the editorial standards that the BMJ professes to uphold. In our letter we request an immediate retraction of this article and a published apology.

It is deeply disturbing that there should be such a blatant push to silence legitimate scientific debate and to seek to exclude opposing voices from the U.K. COVID-19 Inquiry. We contend that the main aims and objectives of a public inquiry are to scrutinise and evaluate all the policies that the Government implemented and to carry out a retrospective full cost-benefit analysis and assessment of any resulting collateral damage. Now is the time to calmly and rationally assess all the arguments and evidence that campaigning groups have tried to present – much of it, due to extreme censorship, deliberately kept away from the public and political sphere for debate.

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