HCCC rule on AVN
The complaint filed with the HCCC against the AVN by Ken McLeod and Toni & David MacCaffery has been upheld. While this is a big win for rationality the next question is will the AVN follow through with the ruling? Does the HCCC have teeth?
The report makes the following recomendation;
The Australian Vaccination Network should include an appropriate statement in a prominent position on its website which states:
- the Australian Vaccination Network's purpose is to provide information against vaccination in order to balance what it believes is the substantial amount of pro-vaccination information available elsewhere;
- the information provided should not be read as medical advice; and
- the decision about whether or not to vaccinate should be made in consultation with a health care provider."
The AVN, in their newsletter, have already told their membership they don't believe they fall under the purview of the HCCC;
...the organisation does not believe that it falls under the jurisdiction of the HCCC as they are neither healthcare providers nor health educators.
This is, to a certain extent, true. To be a health educator you should be disseminating facts. This is not what the AVN does.
The ruling gives the AVN 14 days to comply but I'm not holding my breath. I imagine after the Homeopathy Plus Vs the TGA debacle they may have some false bravado.
And after the 14 days are up and the AVN has not complied?
Under section 44 of the Act, the Commission will follow up the implementation of the recommendation and in the event that the Australian Vaccination Network fails to comply with the recommendation the Commission will make a public statement.
What this means in the real world, I don't know. How are these public statements released? How wide spread do they reach? Are they going to be effective or are the HCCC as toothless as the TGA?
(I know I'm making broad generalisations but...) The media seem to have finally got it right though. ABC News has a good article on the report. The video segment is even better. Meryl Dorey, while interviewed, was not pandered too as she has been in the past. The hard questions were asked and she appeared to be on the defensive for most of it.
Can the media finally be getting the idea that "balance" isn't something that you can apply to science reporting? We can but hope.
- @podblack of the PodBlack Cat blog
- @DrRachie from The Skeptics’ Book of Pooh-Pooh
- @Orac from RESPECTFUL INSOLENCE blog
- Vaccination Awareness and Information Service
- Michelle at NZ Skeptics in the Pub
- ABC News
- Lateline vodcast and transcript
- 6 Minutes