Coronavirus (1184) BMJ: Should spreading anti-vaccine misinformation be criminalised? (2)

3 March, 2021

[in response to ]


1. You can't just criminalize the spreading of one kind of mis/disinformation. Any move to criminalize anti-vaccine information will thus have huge social and humnan rights consequences

2. Even if you did criminalize only anti-vaccine sentiment, who would take the time and trouble to chase the thousands of miscreants?

3. "anti-vaccine" is subject to degrees: from the really huge whoppers to the slight slurs. Impossible to draw the criminalization line.

4. I watched Kazuo Ishiguro's launch of his new novel Klara and the Sun last night, and he noted that all writers of fiction were engaged in what he called "emotional truth" - dedicated to getting people to believe in fictions and fictional characters. He wondered about the role of novellists like himself in creating what we could call the "fake newsiverse": in which anti-vaxxers flourish.

Beware you don't kill all fictions while trying to exterminate some!

Chris Zielinski

Blogs: and

Research publications:

HIFA profile: Chris Zielinski: As a Visiting Fellow in the Centre for Global Health, Chris leads the Partnerships in Health Information (Phi) programme at the University of Winchester. Formerly an NGO, Phi supports knowledge development and brokers healthcare information exchanges of all kinds. Chris has held senior positions in publishing and knowledge management with WHO in Brazzaville, Geneva, Cairo and New Delhi, with FAO in Rome, ILO in Geneva, and UNIDO in Vienna. Chris also spent three years in London as Chief Executive of the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society. He was the founder of the ExtraMED project (Third World biomedical journals on CD-ROM), and managed the Gates Foundation-supported Health Information Resource Centres project. He served on WHO’s Ethical Review Committee, and was an originator of the African Health Observatory. Chris has been a director of the World Association of Medical Editors, UK Copyright Licensing Agency, Educational Recording Agency, and International Association of Audiovisual Writers and Directors. He has served on the boards of several NGOs and ethics groupings (information and computer ethics and bioethics). UK-based, he is also building houses in Zambia. chris AT

His publications are at and and his blogs are and