is being sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association (previously on metafilter
). A pre-trail ruling by the judge caused much concern
in the scientific community and elsewhere
. On the 4th of June Singh announced
that he was applying to appeal against the pre-trial ruling, and Sense About Science
launched a Keep Libel Laws Out Of Science
campaign (T-shirts, badges and mugs available). The Streisand effect
really started to kick in when Simon Perry screen-scraped 400 uk chiropractic web sites, searched for claims about the treatment of colic, and mail-merged letters to various Trading Standards officers
. Over 240 letters were sent. This led to an interesting response.
On the 8th of June, the McTimoney Association
sent an urgent email to all its members
: "Because of what we consider to be a witch hunt against chiropractors, we are now issuing the following advice: ... If you have a website, take it down NOW ... REMOVE all the blue MCA patient information leaflets, or any patient information leaflets of your own that state you treat whiplash, colic or other childhood problems in your clinic or at any other site where they might be displayed with your contact details on them. DO NOT USE them until further notice ... IF YOU DO NOT FOLLOW THIS ADVICE, YOU MAY BE AT RISK FROM PROSECUTION."
Their claims of a 'witch hunt' are discussed in this Guardian article
by Chris French: "Challenging unsubstantiated treatment claims does not seem to me to qualify as a witch hunt."
Simon Perry's blog
has a lot of detail about the responses he has had to his complaints. He also submitted 56 individual complaints to the General Chiropractic Council, and sent the whole list of web sites that make claims about colic to the Office of Fair Trading.
Over 12,000 people have so far signed up to the Keep Libel Laws Out Of Science
campaign, and there is also a statment of support
from senior parliamentarians.
After the pre-trail ruling, BCA President Dr Tony Metcalfe said
, “The BCA brought this claim to preserve its integrity and reputation. I’m delighted that the Judge has vindicated the BCA’s position.”