Censorship

Why is Ofcom Suppressing Covid Information Based on the Advice of a Biased ‘Fact-Checker’ Funded by Google, Facebook and George Soros?

Broadcasting regulator Ofcom has come under fire this week for labelling scepticism of official statistics and statements as “misinformation” during the Covid crisis. The Telegraph has the story.

The broadcasting regulator has been accused of stifling “rational criticism” of the response to Covid by labelling scepticism about Britain’s approach to the pandemic as “misinformation”. 

Amid major controversy over whether official statistics were overstating the prevalence of coronavirus, Ofcom described the idea that there were “a lower number of cases in reality than is being reported” as a “common piece of misinformation”.

It also emerged that the regulator warned broadcasters in the early days of the pandemic that it was prioritising investigations into programmes or news reports featuring advice which “discourages the audience from following official rules and guidance”.

The disclosure will lead to renewed concerns about the approach of the regulator, as the Government seeks a new chairman who can “provide proper scrutiny and challenge”.

Conservative MP Steve Baker described the approach as “dangerous”, stating: “To label any kind of rational criticism as misinformation is unscientific, and a frank rejection of enlightenment values which would catapult us into a new dark age.”

According to the Telegraph, Ofcom has prepared dozens of papers detailing surveys it has carried out relating to Covid, each of which includes a section titled “Misinformation related to Covid”.

The Collapse of the Attempt to Censor the Lab Leak Theory Shows Why it’s Dangerous to Suppress Free Enquiry

We’re publishing a new piece today by retired lawyer Cephas Alain (a pseudonym) about the lab leak theory, subtitled “Who Suppressed It? Who Uncovered It? And What Should We Do About It?

Here’s how he begins:

A crucial, and often overlooked, event in the story of the pandemic and its associated narratives, including that of the supposed natural origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, was the Press Conference of WHO-China Joint Mission on COVID-19 Epidemic Prevention and Control in China. It took place at The Presidential Hotel in Beijing on the evening of February 24th 2020. The transcript of Press Conference and the forty-page Report issued by the Joint Mission on the same date The China Report are available as follows:

The WHO Press Conference Transcript: February 24th 2020
The Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (The China Report)

The WHO Press Conference was briefed by the Team Leaders of the Joint Mission: Dr. Bruce Aylward (a former Assistant Director-General of the WHO and senior advisor to WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus) and Dr. Liang Wannian (Head of Expert Panel of COVID-19 Response of China National Health Commission (NHC).

Dr Wannian suggested that the source of the outbreak “…according to the currently available data in China, bats may be its host, and pangolin may also be one of the intermediate hosts [i.e., between bats and humans] of this virus”. The China Report added that: “At some point early in the outbreak, some cases generated human-to-human transmission chains that seeded the subsequent community outbreak prior to the implementation of the comprehensive control measures that were rolled out in Wuhan.” (China Report page 10) The ‘best guess’ of the WHO Team was therefore that the SARS-CoV-2 virus originated in bats which jumped species to infect humans, possibly via pangolins.

Cephas gathers together some of the key events and articles to tell the story of the censorship and how it collapsed and what that means.

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: Douglas Murray has delivered one of his most sceptical pieces to date, lambasting the media for its skewed coverage of the pandemic, starting with the disgraceful silence over the mass protests and then taking aim at the “kidults” who run tech companies for their censorship of the lab leak theory.

Stop Press 2: Katherine Eban in Vanity Fair notes that researchers at the U.S. National Security Council had spotted that the engineered mice with humanised lungs that the WIV used for experiments with SARS-CoV-2 in early 2020 must have been engineered before the pandemic in the summer of 2019, leading to questions about the reason they were created – and how dangerous were the experiments being done on them.

Stop Press 3: The Daily Mail‘s Sian Boyle has carried out an investigation in Dr Peter Daszak, who, as President of EcoHealth Alliance, helped to fund gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology then did his best to rubbish the lab leak theory.

Facebook Condemned For Trying to Ingratiate Itself With China by Censoring of Lab Leak Theory

Facebook was today accused by a Conservative MP of “showing its true and ugly colours” and smothering free speech to cosy up to China as it did a U-turn on its ban on posts debating whether Covid-19 could be man-made. Following Joe Biden’s call for further investigation of the theory, such speculation is no longer deemed to be “harmful misinformation” by the social media giant. MailOnline has more.

Mark Zuckerberg’s global policy chief Nick Clegg, the former British MP and Liberal Democrat leader, has also been branded “feeble” for allowing months of censorship on the social network.

Critics branded Facebook’s behaviour had been ‘contemptible’ and begged them to respect free speech rather than “ingratiating” themselves with states such as China, which has banned the website but remains a $5billion-a-year ad market.

British Conservative MP Peter Bone told MailOnline: “It does seem to me that Facebook is not an open platform for people to put their views on. It is an open platform for people to put their views on as long as they agree with Facebook.

“Their decisions are based on politics not on principle… if it is fashionable with the liberal elite it can go down. If it is liberal elite say it it must be OK, if it’s President Trump that says it it must be awful.

“The thing that Trump was saying is exactly the same as Biden is saying, but Trump was according to Facebook not allowed to say that. Whereas everyone loves Biden from Facebook therefore it must be right. It is one rule for one political view and another for another.”

And the liberal media in the US, who lampooned Donald Trump when he said a year ago said he had “a high degree of confidence” that the virus escaped from a lab, have finally conceded that he may have been right – after a year ridiculing the suggestion.

Facebook ruled in February it would “remove” any posts that claimed that coronavirus was “man-made” or that the virus was “created by an individual, government or country” – branding it “misinformation” and a “debunked claim” that required “aggressive action” from moderators.

But today the tech giant reversed its ban on its users discussing the theory, just hours after President Biden ordered his intelligence agencies to launch a probe into whether it was man-made after all – and report back in 90 days.

Worth reading in full.

Professor Denis Rancourt Banned From ResearchGate For Warning of Harms of Masks

Professor Denis Rancourt has been banned from academic pre-print publishing site ResearchGate for publishing research evidence suggesting masks can cause harm to the wearer.

He announced the news on Twitter: “ResearchGate today has permanently locked my account, which I have had since 2015. Their reasons graphically show the nature of their attack against democracy, and their corruption of science. … By their obscene non-logic, a scientific review of science articles reporting on harms caused by face masks has a ‘potential to cause harm’. No criticism of the psychological device (face masks) is tolerated, if the said criticism shows potential to influence public policy.”

Prof Rancourt, whose paper reviewing research on the harms of masks had been viewed more than 200,000 times, tweeted screenshots of emails he had received from the website warning him of his breaches of their terms of service, one of which stated:

In our view, those reports, among other things, discouraged the use of face masks, which contradicts the public health advice and/or legal requirements of credible agencies and governments. We, therefore, concluded that under our policies the reports had potential to cause harm. Posting content that has potential to cause harm is a violation of our Terms of Service.

Dr Clare Craig of HART tweeted: “We are in full witch hunt mode now. Science – which by definition requires debate – cannot exist in this environment.”

ResearchGate, as a privately owned website, is fully within its rights to have whatever terms of service it wishes and refuse to host whatever content it wants. But that doesn’t mean its decisions aren’t harmful to scientific debate or don’t constitute misplaced censorship of evidence that is inconvenient to governments or supportive of unfashionable views. ResearchGate may be entitled, under its Terms of Service, to censor evidence that runs counter to the policies of Western governments, but that doesn’t make it good for advancing scientific understanding.

Prof Rancourt’s articles are still available here.

We Cannot Afford to Censor Lockdown Sceptics – Professor Martin Kulldorff

We’re publishing an interview today with Martin Kulldorff, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and one of the three original signatories of the Great Barrington Declaration. Among other things, he warns of the dangers of censoring dissenting voices during a pandemic, following his own run-in with Twitter a couple of weeks ago.

The media has been very reluctant to report reliable scientific and public health information about the pandemic. Instead they have broadcast unverified information such as the model predictions from Imperial College, they have spread unwarranted fear that undermine people’s trust in public health and they have promoted naïve and inefficient counter measures such as lockdowns, masks and contact tracing.

While I wished that neither SAGE nor anyone else would argue against long-standing principles of public health, the media should not censor such information. During a pandemic, it is more important than ever that media can report freely. There are two major reasons for this: (i) While similar to existing coronaviruses, SARS-CoV-2 is a new virus that we are constantly learning more about and because of that, it takes time to reach scientific conclusions. With censorship it takes longer and we cannot afford that during a pandemic. (ii) In order to maintain trust in public health, it is important that any thoughts and ideas about the pandemic can be voiced, debated and either confirmed or debunked.

This is a great interview done by the same journalist who interviewed Jay Bhattacharya for Lockdown Sceptics last week.

Worth reading in full.