"So where does that leave media organisations that receive an approach from the
likes of Palmer to publish advertisements the terms of which are not false,
misleading or deceptive, but which are clearly designed to undermine public
support for public health measures such as lockdowns?
It leaves them having to decide whether to exercise an ethical prerogative.
Short of a legal requirement to do so – say, in settlement of a law suit – no
media organisation is obliged to publish an advertisement. It is in almost all
cases an ethical decision.
Naturally, freedom of speech imposes a heavy ethical burden to publish, but it
is not the only consideration. John Stuart Mill’s harm principle becomes
relevant. That principle says the prevention of harm to others is a legitimate
constraint on individual freedom.
Undermining public support for public health measures is obviously harmful and
against the public interest. Media organisations are entitled to make decisions
on ethical bases like this. An example from relatively ancient history will
illustrate the point."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics