I recently posted about the Australian Vaccination Network, and anti-vaccination group and the recent findings against them from the HCCC. They found that the AVN provides misleading information and vaccinations and ordered them to post disclaimers stating that they are clearly anti-vax and that the information is not provided by medical professionals. Many people, including myself, thought the order was a little weak considering they were also found to have harassed a young family whose daughter died of Pertussis (Whooping Cough) at 32 days old.
Initially I was somewhat disappointed to learn the ruling from the HCCC was no more than a requirement to post a disclaimer on the AVN website, but as the news has spread, I am somewhat buoyed by what has been happening.
The HCCC ruling states that the AVN has 14 days to post a disclaimer clearly stating their website is anti-vaccine and that any information on the website should not be construed as medical advice.
Seems like a slap on the wrist right? At first yes, but since the story has spread across the webosphere, an unexpected result has emerged and one that makes me very pleased indeed.
Everywhere across the media, the AVN are now being referred to as anti-vaccine. Australia’s anti-vaccine organisation, the anti-vaccination network, and asked repeatedly why they are anti-vaccine. Regular readers of this blog will shrug and say, yeah we already knew they were anti-vaccine Maggie, so what? But what you may not know is that many people, especially vulnerable non-science educated parents and the media did not.
Like the majority of anti-vaccine groups, the AVN have gone to great lengths to conceal their true beliefs from the public and especially the media – and the reasons why are obvious. Their rhetoric generally consists of “we are pro-choice”, “we want to empower parents to make a decision by providing both sides of the story”, “we provide a balance”, “we are pro-information, blah blah informed choice” etc. You know the drill.
And although it has been blindingly obvious to anyone who knows how to use teh internets, for many busy producers, journalists and the like, the AVN has been their first port of call for “balance” (or rather false balance) simply because they didn’t know any better. Well, never fear dear readers, things they are a-changing.
It turns out that this ruling has been nothing but good for not only the Skeptic community and Australia but for the entire world. It just got a little harder to lie to the public about your conspiracy theories.
If you have not seen the news segment that Lateline did, you can view it in our forums here.