LETTER: Free speech has its limits

I have been following the debate regarding your decision to post a letter claiming that vaccines are harmful and read your editorial statement in response to that debate. You stated that you support the right of everyone to share their opinions and made a grand “free speech for all” declaration, however, I think you are confusing the validity of sharing opinions with making false statements.

For example, there has been lots of debate about the expansion of bike lanes in downtown Victoria – there are both pros and cons to this issue and valid points on both sides and therefore, there are various opinions. However, other topics, such as the “flat earth” conspiracy are clearly in violation of every single scientific fact. Would you feel comfortable printing two articles – one supporting the round earth belief and one supporting the flat earth belief – with equal footing? No – because that isn’t responsible reporting.

This is exactly how the Trump presidency has twisted the truth. Even though every single metric proved that there were more people at Obama’s inauguration, their team claimed that it was “their opinion” that more people came to see Trump. That isn’t an opinion – it’s a lie, and when you promote the kind of lies expressed by the anti-vaxxer you published, you aren’t just promoting a lie, you are threatening people’s lives.

Please reconsider next time.

Claire McCutcheon

Saanich

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