01:00PM, Friday 31 July 2020
A councillor has defended his blog after a fellow councillor accused it of repeating ‘pseudoscientific’ and ‘dangerous conspiracy’ theories.
Cllr Chris Targowski (Con, Riverside) has claimed that the blog of Cllr Jon Davey (WWRA, Clewer & Dedworth West) breaches the Royal Borough’s code of conduct.
He has approached the Royal Borough monitoring officer, who is responsible for matters relating to the conduct of councillors and officers and the operation of their constitution.
Cllr Targowski identified three particular posts he believes to be problematic:
-A link to a video suggesting a ‘dangerous conspiracy theory’ that COVID-19 is caused by 5G masts;
-A statement in ‘active support’ of a ‘discredited pseudoscientific theory’ that water can react to positive thoughts and words;
-A link to a video which states public health messaging on cigarette packages is far more dangerous than smoking itself.
Cllr Davey said he does personally believe in the theories on the impact of positive words on water, as do ‘millions of people’.
But he denies giving active support to these ideas on his blog.
Cllr Davey states he is not instructing site visitors to agree, only directing them towards videos on YouTube so that visitors can make up their own minds.
Cllr Davey added that the negative impact of smoking is highlighted in the smoking video and he has already denied claims that he believes there is a direct link between COVID-19 and 5G.
He has said that he is ‘not worried’ about Cllr Targowski’s approach to the monitoring officer and that ‘nothing’ would come of it.
He added that Cllr Targowski is ‘the one with the questions to answer’ – referring to a counter claim that Cllr Davey made to the monitoring officer against Cllr Targowski.
On July 20, at the infrastructure overview and scrutiny panel, Cllr Targowski asked Cllr Davey specifically about his ideas on the relationship between COVID-19 and 5G.
“He accused me directly in public on social media, YouTube and Zoom, in front of members, of making a direct link between COVID-19 and 5G,” said Cllr Davey.
“If you look at the code of conduct, that’s considered bullying. You do not attack a fellow member in public or even in front of members, unless you have evidence. The evidence he has falls way short.
“I did point people to a link to a video and asked for their opinion. I didn’t say that I believed it. There’s a big difference.”
However, Cllr Targowski disagrees.
“You cannot say ‘I’m just putting it out there,’ – you are still spreading disinformation,” said Cllr Targowski.
“The Government’s ‘Don’t Feed the Beast’ campaign says that drawing people’s attention [to disinformation] is exactly the same.”
On the subject of bullying and code of conduct, Cllr Targowski added:
“I think it’s absolutely fair that these things should be dealt with publicly so people can challenge them. I only brought it up [in the panel meeting] because Cllr Davey was going to talk about 5G.
“I don’t believe at all that having this in public debate is any form of bullying.”
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