A defrocked philosopher and bon viveur, Giordano Bruno committed a heinous crime: his philosophy did not agree with the official science embodied by the Catholic Church. Bruno thought the earth rotated around other planets and the universe was infinite: real heresy. After eight years of detention, unlike Galileo, he refused to recant and was burned at the stake in AD 1600.
Bruno’s end was extreme. Although it would not happen nowadays, the persecution principle is alive and kicking. It has been energised but also brought to the surface by the Covid pandemic.
The above is taken from a study that explored the experiences and responses of doctors and research scientists from different countries who have been targets of suppression and/or censorship following their publications and statements about Covid-19 that challenged official views. Trust the Evidencereviewed this recent study and summarised its findings.
A recent publication on censorship and suppression and its tactics and counter-tactics drew our attention. The study was based on interviews with established scientists “who were censored for their heterodox views on Covid-19”.
Participants reported 12 censorship and suppression tactics used by the medical establishment and the media due to their critical or unorthodox positions on Covid-19. Our analysis is that these fall into three broad categories: Silencing and Censorship; Denigration and Discrediting of an individual; and, Complaints and Intimidation.
There are also other tactics coming to the fore that are context specific. Shadow banning occurs when social media platform stops a user’s content from showing up without notifying the user.
The reactions of the victims were interesting: intimidation did not seem to work, all those interviewed carried on articulating their work and thoughts, some took legal actions, and others formed support networks. Perhaps the most interesting reaction was the use of alternative means of communication. Coming under attack requires highly effective communication strategies to get your points across.
Silencing and Censorship can be addressed by finding alternative sources of communication (e.g, Substack) and media outlets that are better at dealing with and expressing uncertainties. Denigration and Discrediting require keeping calm and not responding in kind while sticking to an evidence-based approach – counter certainty with uncertainty. Complaints and Intimidation are perhaps the most pervasive strategies and most difficult to deal with. But take advice, confide in trusted sources and play the long game.