Conspiracy Theory Journal with Covid Hoax Articles Found Circulating in Cambridgeshire
A conspiracy theory journal is circulating in Cambridgeshire fearing it will target the elderly and be distributed at a vulnerable time as the country prepares to ease lockdown restrictions in the event of a pandemic.
The latest edition of The Light, which describes itself as ‘funded by people’, wields such stories as ‘India crisis likely due to vaccines, not Covid’; “All Covid vaccines should be discontinued”; “Demystifying smallpox: vaccine illusion”; and “End face masks and social distancing, say top scientists.”
Previous editions of the self-published, Manchester-based document have referred to global conspiracies, a new world order, Bill Gates and mind control through vaccines and its main argument is that the coronavirus pandemic is a hoax.
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A CambridgeshireLive reader contacted his grandmother saying that her grandmother had received a copy in the CB4 area and that he was concerned that distributors of the post, which itself calls itself a “truth paper,” do not target the elderly. He contacted the police about the incident.
The Light would be distributed via a private Facebook group and Twitter contacts in which volunteers offer to post it in neighbors’ mailboxes. The publication is known to have been distributed in London, Manchester, Yorkshire, North Wales, Surrey and Leicestershire. It is also broadcast during anti-containment protests and left at gas stations.
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Its circulation comes as social media platforms crack down on unfounded stories and disinformation, especially about the pandemic.
On Twitter, the @thelightpaper says he has no followers, as only approved followers can see his tweets.
The Light started appearing last year and copies circulating in Cambridgeshire are in their 10th edition. He counts Piers Corbyn, brother of former Labor leader Jeremy, as one of his supporters after describing it as “the best newspaper I have ever read”.
Last month, Piers Corbyn staged a controversial anti-lockdown protest on the London Underground, pulling up notices asking passengers to wear masks and maintain social distancing.
The Light describes itself as an “independently distributed truth document exposing corruption and crimes committed by governments, businesses and individuals.”
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It is edited by its founder Darren Smith, who also uses the Nesbitt surname. He also runs a business selling anti-lockout clothing and merchandise challenging the 9/11 attacks and another business selling acoustic guitar strings. He told the Guardian last fall that “censorship” on YouTube and other social media had led him to create the newspaper, which is largely funded by donations but also contains advertising.
But he has also been successful in getting his message out through the social media he disputes, as well as managing the distribution of the print copies through private fan groups.
Last year, the log was found by Facebook fact-checkers after social media spread a story that a U.S. government agency accepted the coronavirus as a hoax. The story was wrong. The social media coverage and debate on the issue, which was predominant in the UK, US and Australia, was genuine as the cited report appeared in a print publication – The Light.