We are pleased to excerpt this article by John Stone as published on Children's Health Defense in a collaborative effort.
By John Stone
These comments follow on the disappointing failure of Prof Kaye ‘UN Special Rapporteur for the Promotion and Protection of Freedom of Opinion and Freedom of Expression’ to respond to two respectful letters complaining about the arbitrary use of terms like “misinformation” and “disinformation” for information which is likely just inconvenient for corporate global interests, global agencies and the policies of governments. I also protested at the use the of term “anti-vaccinationist” as catch-all hate speech for anyone who criticises vaccine products, programs or the lobby.
I was moved to write to Prof Kaye because he seemed to be displaying signs of intellectual fastidiousness last year when he asked Mark Zuckerberg to be more precise about how he defined “vaccine misinformation”. In my second letter I expanded this to include public and expert concern about 5G radiation – also coming to be classified expediently as “misinformation”, as with a recent communique by the Council of Europe (which I understand to be the committee of the 27 heads of government of the European Union). I wrote, it will be recalled:
“It seems now that at “warp-speed” global citizens are having their rights to discuss their future stripped away from them by politicians using Orwellian strategies. Now, every time that global corporate interests are called into question, governments only have to wheel out terms like “misinformation” or “disinformation” and they are safe from public scrutiny or accountability. This bodes ill both for democracy and the safety of citizens.“
It may be said that I was genuinely surprised when he did not reply to me the first time, and that a United Nations office did not even have the courtesy to provide an acknowledgment, even when repeatedly requested. It should also be obvious that this is just the sort of sensitive issue which his office should be attending to: even if Kaye thinks I am absolutely wrong it ought to be within his grasp to explain why. The idea that there are increasing areas where governments should never have to be called to account is both absurd and menacing.
In the absence of a reply I went to Kaye’s 2019 book ‘Secret Police: The Global Struggle to Govern the Internet’ for illumination. The critical passage is found on page 91 where he writes favourably of the work of the Oxford Internet Institute (OII):
“OII has shown how all sorts of actors try to manipulate public opinion, from whether to vaccinate your children to whom to vote for in contested elections”
It is interesting to note here how once legitimate subjects of free speech have now fall under the heading of “manipulation”. In particular, he mentions OII’s Samantha Bradshaw, with whom I took issue at the House of Commons’ Digital, Culture, Media & Sports Committee Inquiry into FAKE News in 2017-18. I wrote to the Committee following her evidence:
Read more here.