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Censorship Medicine Science

Censorship Doesn't Just Stifle Speech — It Can Cause Disease To Spread 70

Posted by Soulskill
from the information-wants-to-be-free-and-so-do-viruses dept.
Lasrick writes "Maryn McKenna at Wired explores fears of a pandemic of MERS after October's hajj to Saudi Arabia, the annual pilgrimage to Islam's holy sites: 'The reason is MERS: Middle East respiratory syndrome, a disease that has been simmering in the region for months. The virus is new, recorded in humans for the first time in mid-2012. It is dire, having killed more than half of those who contracted it. And it is mysterious, far more so than it should be—because Saudi Arabia, where the majority of cases have clustered, has been tight-lipped about the disease's spread, responding slowly to requests for information and preventing outside researchers from publishing their findings about the syndrome.'"
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Censorship Doesn't Just Stifle Speech — It Can Cause Disease To Spread

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  • Wasn't there a children's nursery rhyme about the loss of a kingdom for want of a nail?

    Seems the concept of lack through fortune or obstruction is well known throughout history.

    • Seems the concept of lack through fortune or obstruction is well known throughout history.

      Yes, it is pretty silly to think that no one ever noticed before that information and knowledge can be beneficial.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by VortexCortex (1117377)

      Wasn't there a children's nursery rhyme about the loss of a kingdom for want of a nail?

      Ah yes, I remember it well...

      Kindly said, "They know not what they do,"
      Advised instead, "Rope can not hold this Jew!"
      From crossed timbers made spell,
      And chosen kingdom fell,
      The Immortal's now locked up with Xenu.

  • by uCallHimDrJ0NES (2546640) on Friday August 23, 2013 @05:46PM (#44660361)
    People think you're saying MRSA, and they tune out. I've seen it happening over and over now. I'm not the only one to notice. It's obvious. If anyone reading this has any power to change what the media uses as a name for this, please, for the love of all that is good, get the name of this disease changed.
    • by Quasimodem (719423) on Friday August 23, 2013 @07:01PM (#44660875)

      The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have confirmed that players, Carl Nicks and Lawrence Tynes, are being treated for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

      Perhaps the infection will get a more user-friendly name like Buccaneers' disease, sort of like Legionnaires disease did for legionella pneumophila.

      If they don't, they should at least find a way to throw a couple of vowels into the acronym, like SARS. Civilians can't seem to really get behind fearing something, or taking precautions against it, unless they can pronounce the darn name.

    • by causality (777677)

      People think you're saying MRSA, and they tune out. I've seen it happening over and over now.

      Actually listening to what other people are saying and trying to comprehend what they do and (and most importantly) don't mean just isn't a valued part of American culture.

      When you were younger, did you ever work an entry-level customer service type of job? Then you know all about it. You see this behavior even in people who are actively seeking and truly do need your advice. I think it's a form of puerile impatience (that ends up costing more time ironically enough). It could also be an attempt to s

  • Religion and reality don't mix.

    • Religion and reality don't mix.

      Am I missing something in your comment?
      I don't see the role of religion here, or an insinuation in the article that there is religious motivation behind this.

      The story is about the Saudi government wanting to contain outgoing information relating to its handling of an epidemic, and researchers criticising this attitude as dangerous to public health beyond Saudi borders, and drawing links to SARS etc.

      Yes, it so happens that this epidemic has been kindled by the fact that there is an influx of people on a

  • by minstrelmike (1602771) on Friday August 23, 2013 @05:56PM (#44660435)
    Trying to hide the truth costs something. Usually more than simply not knowing the truth to begin with.
    Discovering the truth, such as the cost of air or water pollution or the cost of always fighiting forest fires (seems like the obvious thing to do) can take generations to learn but we're doing it.
    Disease is a human concern, not a political or economic concern.
    We're figuring that out just as we're now figuring out what to do now that we've 'conquered' the world as a species ;-)
  • How dire? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Friday August 23, 2013 @05:58PM (#44660447) Homepage

    It is dire, having killed more than half of those who contracted it.

    That's not a measure of direness by itself. How contractable is it?

    (I'll make the obvious joke myself that it's highly contractable, since "MERS" has a lot fewer letters than "Middle East respiratory syndrome")

    • by Anonymous Coward

      True - if only five people ever caught it and three of them died, it'd still fit the description but wouldn't be dire at all.

    • by shentino (1139071)

      I've never heard of a virus entering into a contract but I'm sure a nasty EULA would do it more damage than it could do you.

  • It is one that governments are trying to spread in their populations so that they/we become unaware of how they spy on us.

  • by mveloso (325617) on Friday August 23, 2013 @07:47PM (#44661137)

    Read all about it:

    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=mers+bats [lmgtfy.com]

  • by pla (258480) on Friday August 23, 2013 @07:51PM (#44661163) Journal

    Point 1: I see nowhere in that article where Faisal's Bastards managed to suppress publication of actual information about MERS. It makes the same claim (word for word) as the FP, but substantiates it... Not at all?

    Point 2: So - The vast majority of the 9/11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia; they count as the #1 contributor to OPEC (how do you like fracking now, bitches?), and... They seem intent on covering up the next pandemic? Someone remind me why we keep playing nice with these worthless misogynist theocratic pieces of dog shit?

  • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Friday August 23, 2013 @09:47PM (#44661727)

    Just out of curiousity, how do the Saudis prevent outside researchers from publishing their research? It would seem that if you are outside Saudi, then their censorship wouldn't apply. I could see how they prevent outsiders from conducting research, but from publishing their research? Seems that something must have been edited out because that doesn't make sense.

    • by __Paul__ (1570)

      Yeah, I was wondering that myself. I think they mean "preventing outside researchers from getting in to research the outbreak".

  • There was a medieval cholera epidemic spread by multiple groups of religious pilgrims. It began with Hindu pilgrims bathing in the sacred Ganges at Varanasi & then going home; that spread it over most of northern India. Moslem pilgrims going West for the Hajj then spread it to Persia, Baghdad, Jerusalem, ... Finally, crusaders brought it to Europe. It killed tens or hundreds of thousands in all those places.
  • The hajj is the granddaddy of pilgimages. It wasn't the first, but it was the first of its size and continues to be teh world's largest annual pilgrimage. Would fear of contracting a deadly disease keep pilgrims, and pilgrim riyals, out of the country? Maybe, maybe not, but clearly the Saudi government doesn't want to take that chance.
  • If this is a spreadable Disease why are Saudis allowed to travel outside of there country to any country? Why are they being allowed to spread the disease?

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