Ook actievoerders kunnen soms te ver gaan

CONCORD, MASSACHUSETTS – Stelt u zich voor dat actievoerders het publiek proberen te attenderen op een gevaar dat zij hebben gesignaleerd, maar dat uit het bewijsmateriaal blijkt dat het gevaar niet echt bestaat en mensen er door het verspreiden van angst toe worden aangezet zich te gedragen op manieren die het bredere publiek – en u – in gevaar brengen. Wat zou u dan doen? En wat zou de overheid moeten doen?

De Australische regering heeft die vraag op dramatische wijze beantwoord. Zij heeft de ANBI-status (die donateurs een belastingvoordeel oplevert) ingetrokken van een actiegroep tegen inentingscampagnes, op grond van de overweging dat hun angstaanjagende desinformatie over het gevaar van vaccins de volksgezondheid bedreigt, en vooral die van kinderen.

De regering heeft de groepering ook gedwongen haar naam te veranderen, van 'Australian Vaccination Network' in 'Australian Vaccination-Skeptics Network', om duidelijk te maken wat het doel is van de actievoerders. “We zullen ervoor blijven zorgen dat ze zich presenteren als een groepering die tegen inentingen is”, heeft minister Stuart Ayres van New South Wales gezegd. “We willen zeker stellen dat ze nooit meer misleidende informatie rondbazuinen”.

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