The war on disinformation is just a war on dissent

The British state’s monitoring of lockdown sceptics is a democratic outrage.

Writes Tom Slater:

We need to retire the word ‘disinformation’, the apparent dread of governments, BBC specialist reporters and NGOs everywhere. Or at the very least we need to remember what it actually means. The definition of disinformation is ‘false information which is intended to mislead’. Until recently, it was largely used to describe propaganda pumped out by hostile foreign states. But in the great disinformation panic of our time, sparked by the populist revolts of 2016 and sent into hyperdrive by the paranoia of the pandemic, the word has come to mean something very different among our elites. It has come to mean inconvenient facts, or a differing opinion. Tackling disinformation is now just a euphemism for demonising and silencing dissent.

Just take a look at the latest revelations about the British state’s monitoring of lockdown sceptics during the pandemic. A new blockbuster investigation by the Telegraph and civil-liberties group Big Brother Watch details the shady activities of the Counter-Disinformation Unit, which is still operating and was set up by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), and the now-closed Rapid Response Unit, which was run out of the Cabinet Office. They compiled reports about prominent lockdown sceptics including Carl Heneghan, director of the University of Oxford’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, and Molly Kingsley, co-founder of UsForThem, which valiantly campaigned against Covid school closures. The government also employed an artificial-intelligence firm to ‘scour social-media sites’ for wrongthink.

Read on here.