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Columnist threatened with legal action after attacks by anti-vaxxers

Gary BurgessA regional daily columnist has been threatened with legal action after being targeted by anti-vaccination activists on social media.

Gary Burgess received a threatening letter after extolling the benefits of Covid-19 vaccination in a column for the Jersey Evening Post.

Gary, who also works for ITV Channel television and Channel 103 radio, was sent a three-page letter days after an article about vaccination was published and widely shared, according to the JEP.

He told the newspaper the letter followed multiple online comments that indicated he was being targeted by the ‘anti-vax’ lobby.

The letter called on Gary, pictured, to publish evidence for all the claims he made about vaccination, reserving the right to take legal action if he did not.

He told the JEP: “I was quite taken aback at first by the onslaught on social media, which included some possibly libellous comments, but by the time the letter arrived on Wednesday I was seeing the funny side.

“To me it’s like water off a duck’s back in that I choose to put myself out there on social media and that comes with pros as well as brickbats, but it would be different if a letter like that was landing on the desk of a younger or inexperienced journalist who didn’t have the support of people around them.”

Gary added: “They have their own counterfactuals from the dark recesses of the internet.

“What saddens me is that there may be some good people out there who think the anti-vax argument is legitimate and are getting brainwashed by it.

“As far as I am concerned, from the World Health Organisation to Becky Sherrington leading the vaccination programme in Jersey, all the scientific evidence shows that vaccination is the key to getting the world – and Jersey – out of this pandemic, so I will just be carrying on.”

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