Yaffa Shir-Raz et al.
The emergence of COVID-19 has led to numerous controversies over COVID-related knowledge and policy. To counter the perceived threat from doctors and scientists who challenge the official position of governmental and intergovernmental health authorities, some supporters of this orthodoxy have moved to censor those who promote dissenting views. The aim of the present study is to explore the experiences and responses of highly accomplished doctors and research scientists from different countries who have been targets of suppression and/or censorship following their publications and statements in relation to COVID-19 that challenge official views. Our findings point to the central role played by media organizations, and especially by information technology companies, in attempting to stifle debate over COVID-19 policy and measures. In the effort to silence alternative voices, widespread use was made not only of censorship, but of tactics of suppression that damaged the reputations and careers of dissenting doctors and scientists, regardless of their academic or medical status and regardless of their stature prior to expressing a contrary position. In place of open and fair discussion, censorship and suppression of scientific dissent has deleterious and far-reaching implications for medicine, science, and public health.