Opinion: Are Doctors who Lie about COVID-19 Responsible for their Actions

Society » HEALTH | January 20, 2022, Thursday // 11:25
Bulgaria: Opinion: Are Doctors who Lie about COVID-19 Responsible for their Actions Assoc. Prof. Mangarov

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily coincide with the editorial position of Novinite.com and Dnevnik.

Assoc. Prof. Mangarov's claims - namely that in Bulgaria there were “564 people who died from the covid vaccine” - were refuted by the Ministry of Health. This is not the first case in which Mr. Mangarov's words differ from the facts. The statistics are clear: over 93% of those who died of covid in our country have not actually been vaccinated. The “causal link” is the opposite of Mangarov's “theses”.

Bulgaria: Not a Single Case of Proven Link between Vaccine against COVID-19 and Death

Should something be done in cases such as these, with “experts” who, in the words of the chairman of the BMA, Dr. Madjarov, “spread fake news and therefore cannot be called doctors?

Freedom of speech is sacred in a democratic society. However, not all opinions are equally valid. Rights and obligations are both sides of the same coin; they are inextricably linked. Exercising “my right” must not endanger other people’s lives.

All points of view with equal weight?

For example, do the authors of a documentary on African-American civil rights struggles need to reflect in detail the “point of view” of the Ku Klux Klan? And is it permissible for a Nazi's view to be presented as equally acceptable to that of the Holocaust victims? Of course not. This is a dangerous, misunderstood, and false pluralism.

You will say that the example I am giving is not accurate: organizations that profess racist ideas are illegal, and experts such as Assoc. Prof. Mangarov have the right to practice medicine. This is precisely the reason why such people continue to be willingly invited to the media and given a platform, although their claims differ from the facts established by science.

However, it is known that the appalling consequences of pseudo-scientific theories promoting, for example, “white supremacy” have led to their post-facto criminalization. Racist and other dark and misanthropic “ideas” are persecuted and punished with the full force of the law in developed democracies.

Elsewhere, charges have been laid for spreading lies about Covid-19

What are we waiting for in our country? What else needs to happen? Isn't it high time that the least vaccinated country in the EU, which has repeatedly topped various lists of the highest Covid-19 mortality rates, sanctioned the spreading of false medical information? There are many examples around the world of people accused of such behavior. In South Africa, for example, in 2020 it was decided that those who spread false allegations about Covid-19 were subject to six months in prison.

There are grounds for sanctioning people who deliberately spread fake news in Bulgarian law. Art. 326 of the Penal Code, for example, provides for up to two years in prison for those who cause anxiety and panic through the media or other means, and if the act has “significant harmful consequences, the penalty is imprisonment for up to five years and a fine of ten thousand to fifty thousand BGN”.

Anti-vaxxer Ventsislav Angelov – the “Chicago” recently beat up a doctor because he had given a vaccine that allegedly killed a patient. Angelov, known for his political provocations, his sentences, and support for ex-prime minister Oresharski, actually sings in a choir with Dr. Mangarov. Both took part in the Vazrazhdane protest against green certificates in front of parliament. At this protest, attempts were made to escalate tensions and storm the National Assembly.

Bulgaria: Protest Against the Green Certificate in front of Parliament (VIDEOS and PHOTOS)

In the case of experts such as Mr. Mangarov, in my opinion, this is not about “freedom of speech”, but about spreading untruths that are dangerous to public health. Doubts remain that these suggestions are made in the name of selfish political goals. The lack of political leadership and the “lack of a spine” of many media in our country have led to the rise of irrational fears about the pandemic. The genie, alas, has already been released from the bottle. This, of course, does not mean that he cannot be pushed back into it.

Which people are experts

However, let's assume that the media stops inviting “experts” spreading fake news about Covid-19; that their fellow doctor-colleagues decided to impose some sanctions on them. A separate question is how exactly this will happen, given that many GPs, contrary to all scientific facts, refuse to vaccinate. It would be right for even these people to be brought to justice.

The question is whether these belated actions will not have the exact opposite effect. If experts like Mangarov and others like him are sanctioned, they will become even greater martyrs in the eyes of anti-vaxxers. And the positions of conspiracy theorists will be further strengthened.

/Petar Cholakov

He is an associate professor of sociology at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Doctor of Political Science (Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski", 2009). He specialized in the London School of Economics (2003, Hansard / Chevening Scholar).


/Dnevnik

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily coincide with the editorial position of Novinite.com and Dnevnik.

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Tags: doctors, Mangarov, covid, Bulgaria, fake news
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