Statement of Support for Academic and Intellectual Freedom

25 October 2020
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Release: Immediate INTERNATIONAL | 23 October 2020

Pandemics Data & Analytics (PANDA) pledges to stand for open science and intellectual freedom.

 

In the wake of The Great Barrington Declaration, an ethical statement authored by members of PANDA’s scientific advisory board, calls for the suppression of free debate on the international pandemic response have reached a fever pitch.

While this speaks to the impact of the declaration in puncturing a stifling intellectual climate, we are concerned by reports that people from across professions face significant personal and professional risks for expressing concern over the hasty implementation of pandemic plans which dramatically departed from past precedent.

 

“That such voices are being silenced is a great tragedy. What they say has the potential to save many lives,” said PANDA co-ordinator, Nick Hudson, in a previous release.

 

PANDA therefore reiterates the importance of the recently-launched PANDA Lawyers, an international network of legal professionals who stand ready to assist the doctors, scientists, academics, and journalists being discouraged from providing fresh perspectives on the humanitarian crisis brought on by lockdowns. Concerned legal professionals are encouraged to contact the organization: panda@pandata.org.za

 

The public pressure on private firms to adopt certain lines will not cease if these companies simply adopt a policy of appeasement. While technology firms may benefit in the short term when they cave to political pressure, the long term consequence will be regulations of online speech that undermine search and social media platforms.

 

For the firms themselves, continuing to badly editorialise the scientific debate over COVID-19 will only lead to further mistrust in their legitimacy as sources of information.

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Issued on behalf of PANDA by Stratagem Consultants. For media enquiries, contact:

Jessica Shelver – jessica@stratagemconsultants.co.za Colin Wardle – colin@stratagemconsultants.co.za

Media Release – 23102020-PANDA Statement of Support for Academic & Intellectual Freedom

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