We need scientists to quiz Covid consensus, not act as agents of disinformation | Sonia Sodha

It’s essential for the status quo to be challenged. But those who claim to be bold outliers need to draw on evidence, not cry censorship

Disinformation can be deadly. Tobacco industry propaganda disguising the dangers of smoking; the actions of big oil to undermine the scientific consensus on climate change; corrupt scientists telling parents that life-saving vaccines are unsafe: all have cost lives. And so it goes in a pandemic. “We’re not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic,” said the director general of the World Health Organization earlier this year. It was prescient.

There are people with a clear motivation to spread disinformation regardless of the human cost. There are the corporate interests such as the Conservative donor and multimillionaire hotel owner Rocco Forte, who was given a primetime BBC platform to spread untruths about Covid-19.

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