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Bloggers Free Speech In Jeopardy: Health Blogger In North Carolina Is Facing Charges
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Bloggers Free Speech In Jeopardy: Health Blogger In North Carolina is Facing Charges

Imagine that you are a blogger. In addition to being a blogger, you are also trying a new diet plan, one that works so well that you find yourself free from diabetes. And now, imagine that your blog and your simple sharing of your own personal successes have landed you in hot water to the point of being called a criminal and potentially facing criminal charges. For blogger Steve Cooksey it is not just a thought, it is reality. He has been told to either take down or completely change his blog or face the wrath of the North Carolina State Board of Dietetics and Nutrition. That agency is citing Chapter 90, Article 25 of the North Carolina General Statutes which would allow the man to be charged with a misdemeanor.

At the heart of the dispute is Cooksey's claim on his website that the Paleo diet that he had begun following had rid him of diabetes. That claim, according to North Carolina is the same as practicing nutrition without a license. In addition to fining him, Cooksey is now being threatened with jail time if he does not comply.

Roughly ten years ago, several US Senators got together and tried to write a bill that would make these blogs and others offering medical advice on the internet a federal crime. That bill failed but the threat is once again rising. It is more than just the threat to free speech that is troubling to Cooksey and other health related bloggers. Instead, much of the concern is coming from who is trying to put a muzzle on people.

Bloggers and others offer health advice online in a number of ways. People take to their Facebook and post that they have had some weight loss success only to have five or six of their friends ask how they did it. Could that potentially become a criminal action if these laws continue? Support forums, message boards and more could also become criminalized in some states, depending on the type of state boards and laws there.

A well known and well respected company makes billions of dollars every year selling fitness programs, supplements and other health products. The people who sell those programs, called "coaches" tout not only the products themselves but nutritional and health advice all of the time, many of them without any type of nutritional background or education. Will they, like Cooksey start facing criminal charges for helping the people that come to them willingly?


Street Talk

Like I have stated before, its all about the dollar. this is a very alarming story. Thanks for the info

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Well, I think that we, common people, can even start imagining the amount of money hidden behind stories like these were pharmaceutical companies are involved. But I never thought there would be actually someone charged for sharing his own experience!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

This is ludicrous! I know people who have tried making major changes to their diets and saw major changes in their condition. It wouldn't surprise me if the whole reason this law, and others like it, exist is because legislators received campaign funding from pharmaceutical companies who want to keep people medicated, not using life style changes to improve their lives.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

That is EXACTLY what the problem is- the FDA wants everyone to believe that they need to take medications despite the fact that nearly all of them get recalled or sued later because of unknown, long term risks! I am warning all of my friends who are BeachBody coaches to be careful with what they are saying and to check the laws in their states so that they are protected. A lot of my articles are used by those coaches- which is frightening with this kind of thing going on.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Ummmmm.....isn't freedom of speech STILL one of our constitutional rights? I'm confused. How is this any different than friends talking about Weight Watchers, Atkins, South Beach, etc?? This is ridiculous. I am speechless.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Right! I had a friend who asked about a good exercise program for her and her husband. I gave her some advice but by North Carolina's standards, I would be criminal? Where does that end? You can't give a friend advice on anything, anymore? You said it- ridiculous.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
Barbara9  

interesting times

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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