House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) has issued a formal demand to Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Merck & Co. for records relating to any collaboration with the federal government in flagging content as “misinformation.”
According to The Washington Examiner, the pharmaceutical companies were reportedly invited by the Department of Health and Human Services in December 2020 to collaborate on countering vaccine disinformation.
In a pushback against any form of potential “government-approved censorship,” Jordan sent letters to the three companies stating, “Whether directly or indirectly, a government-approved or facilitated censorship regime poses a grave threat to the First Amendment and American civil liberties. Accordingly, as part of the committee’s constitutional oversight obligations, we write to request relevant information and documents.”
Under scrutiny are the pharmaceutical companies’ dealings with tech firms and their potential influence in content moderation. The House Judiciary Committee has also requested to see any grants, contracts or funds received from the government.
Jordan’s hardline approach is intended to get to the bottom of allegations regarding the government’s collaboration with pharmaceutical companies to censor American citizens and explore whether any boundaries were overstepped.
The documents requested by Jordan could shed light on the allegations that the government and pharmaceutical companies might have curtailed the civil liberties of American citizens.
Jordan set the deadline for Aug. 1 for the required records by the pharmaceutical companies. As the facts unfold, it remains to be seen how this will affect America’s pandemic response and the broader implications for civil liberties, public trust, and national security in the digital age.
Recently, a federal judge issued an injunction to prevent federal officials from contacting social media companies to censor social media content; however, the order was subsequently blocked by an appeals court.
This news article was partially created with the assistance of artificial intelligence and edited and fact-checked by a human editor.