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Editor bans anti-vaccination letters from weeklies in bid to ‘save lives’

michael-purton-1An editor has banned letters which oppose vaccination against coronavirus from being published in a group of weekly newspapers.

Michael Purton has taken the action at Newsquest sister weeklies the Stroud News & Journal, Wilts & Glos Standard and Gloucestershire Gazette series, in a move which he believes will “save lives”.

The decision means letters arguing against having the Covid=19 vaccine or any other vaccine approved by government medical institutions will not be published in the papers.

HTFP understands the action comes after a number of recent anti-vax protests in Stroud, with campaigners also sending in a large number of letters to the News & Journal.

Michael, pictured, explained the move in a piece published by the News & Journal on Thursday.

He said: “Due to the seriousness of the pandemic, we are no longer publishing letters which make arguments against having the Covid vaccine or any other vaccines.

“Vaccinations are harmless and essential to healthcare.

“There is no scientific evidence to the contrary.

“We have always tried to provide a platform for free speech and open debate, even when that meant publishing opinions which are controversial and opposed by most people, but feel we must make an exception during the pandemic when it is vital that everybody has the vaccine in order to save lives.”

The decision comes after HTFP reported last week how an anti-lockdown conspiracy theorist had used his day in court to attack the regional press over its coverage of the pandemic.

Robin Campbell accused Bristol Live, sister site to the Bristol Post, of trying to “gaslight” the public in the way it had covered the crisis despite a judge reading him an article from The Times which contained the “harrowing words” of a doctor currently working in a high dependency unit.