British author and public speaker David Icke’s unorthodox views are making waves in his country, that is like most others struggling to contain the coronavirus epidemic, but also to control the message around it.
Icke’s theories about the virus, its origin, and whether or not people should be forced to be vaccinated against it – once there is a vaccine – have been described by UK’s Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden as “lunatic conspiracies.”
In a statement for the BBC Radio 4, Dowden also threatened action with the regulatory body for communications, Ofcom. In the meantime, Ofcom announced it was launching a formal, urgent investigation, and revealed that Dowden’s was not the only complaint – the regulator received about 40 others.
Ofcom usually demands corrections and issues fines, the BBC said, but can also revoke a broadcaster’s license.
So what has Icke said to cause this furor? In his latest batch of comments, broadcast on London Live, a local TV channel, Icke spoke about what he thinks is behind the coronavirus pandemic, and how it’s being used as a way to erode civil liberties.
Icke also spoke against the state mandating vaccinations for coronavirus as “fascism.”
And what’s the worst way government and legacy media could possibly react to accusations of eroding civil liberties?
…getting the video shut down on YouTube and getting the broadcaster investigated for broadcasting anything other than government approved messages. Yet that’s what they did.
“I don’t believe everything that David says, I don’t agree with everything he says but I will defend his right to say it to the death,” the interviewer Brian Rose said. “We should allow people to speak their minds period, period. When we shut that down, we’ve got a massive problem with who we are, who we think we are, or who we tell our kids that we are.”
UK media are quoting YouTube as saying they are working to curb “harmful misinformation” about the health crisis.
A spokesperson clarified that YouTube now considers as misinformation and promptly removes all content that promotes alternative methods of preventing coronavirus infection, instead of turning to medical authorities for help.
But in addition, the list of prohibited behaviors when it comes to coronavirus references on YouTube (which the giant initially attempted to discourage completely through demonetization) includes what could be dubbed as coronavirus denial.
The spokesperson said that “any content that disputes the existence or transmission of Covid-19, as described by the World Health Organization and local health authorities is in violation of YouTube policies.”