Unlawful Government Report Labels Julia Hartley-Brewer as ‘Vaccine Sceptic’
Government Documents Misrepresenting Julia Hartley-Brewer
Government documents have been found to inaccurately describe TalkTV presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer as a ‘known vaccine sceptic.’
The Cabinet Office issued an apology to Hartley-Brewer after it was revealed that one of her social media posts had been included in a report on ‘vaccine hesitancy.’
This revelation has sparked concerns about government surveillance and its handling of dissenting voices during the pandemic.
Inaccurate Labeling and Challenging the Prevailing Narrative
The controversy arose when it was discovered that Julia Hartley-Brewer, despite publicly endorsing the COVID-19 vaccine and discussing its merits on her show, was mentioned in a dossier compiled by Whitehall’s ‘Rapid Response Unit’ (RRU).
In a social media comment, she expressed strong disagreement with an article about the Health Secretary and Education Secretary’s joint letter encouraging parents to vaccinate their children.
Her inclusion in the report labeled her as a ‘vaccine sceptic,’ a term she vehemently rejects.
Concerns Over Government Surveillance and Misinformation Handling
In response to these revelations, Hartley-Brewer expressed shock and concern about government actions during the pandemic.
She criticized the government unit, initially created to counteract foreign disinformation, for being used against British journalists and MPs who raised legitimate concerns about COVID-19 policies.
The fact that the false information about her was shared with a US government counter-terrorism unit established to combat propaganda from countries like Russia, China, and Iran raised further concerns.
Transparency Requests and Government Apology
Further inquiries into the matter revealed that Hartley-Brewer’s opposition to vaccine passports had also been logged and shared by government units.
In a written apology to Hartley-Brewer, officials acknowledged the inaccuracy of labeling her as a vaccine sceptic and noted that it was not impartial.
This error was brought to light by civil liberties group Big Brother Watch during an investigation into the government’s counter-disinformation activities, specifically those of the now-disbanded RRU.
Calls for Accountability and Transparency
Director of Big Brother Watch, Silkie Carlo, condemned the monitoring of British journalists and the spread of misinformation about them within the corridors of power, both in the UK and with counter-terror officials in the US.
She called for the suspension of the government’s secretive Counter Disinformation Unit and urged parliament to initiate an inquiry into its activities.
Government Response and Ongoing Legal Proceedings
A spokesperson from the Cabinet Office indicated that this matter is the subject of ongoing legal correspondence, and no further comments could be made at this time.
The incident has raised questions about the boundaries of government surveillance, freedom of expression, and the handling of dissent during times of crisis.