Australia’s largest telecommunications provider has warned a “health scare campaign” about the upcoming 5G mobile network is gaining momentum.
Telstra have called on the government to “quickly and respectfully” address community fears about the network, an inquiry submission says.
ON THE BACK FOOT
Telstra has called on the government to help combat a “misinformation campaign” on the health risks of 5G that has been carried out “on a scale we have not seen before, driven by social media”.
Australian mobile telecommunications companies are only just beginning to build 5G networks around the country, but have faced stiff opposition from campaigns built online about the health effects of 5G operating in higher non-ionising radio frequencies.
The government needed to “quickly and respectfully” address a small number of the community’s fears about the network, Telstra’s submission to an ongoing 5G inquiry says.
In Telstra’s submission, the company warned that while only a “small percentage” of people were concerned, the misinformation was “gaining traction”.
“Telstra would like to see a broad-based government communications campaign explaining 5G technology is safe,” the submission by the telco giant says.
This sentiments follow Telstra chair John Mullen recently stating at a annual general meeting that 5G health campaigners are “similar to anti-vaccination and Flat Earth movements”.
Mullen told shareholder that once someone believes 5G will impact their health, there is little that will change their position, and more is needed to combat these sentiments.
Similarly, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) also added rebuttals to the myriad of submissions made to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications Inquiry into 5G in Australia that state 5G is a health threat to humans and fauna.
Labor MP Ed Husic said during a parliamentary committee hearing examining 5G that politician offices have been “bombarded” with emails from members of the public complaining about 5G.
In October, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts commenced a parliament-first inquiry into 5G network technology.
Over 200 submissions to the inquiry have been received so far from individual members of the public or from groups of concerned citizens that claim 5G will be hazardous to humans, and call for the government to stop companies building 5G networks in Australia.
Communications Minister, Paul Fletcher, has assured Telstra that it is “backing high-speed 5G mobile network rollout plans” amid signs of a community backlash against the technology.
Fletcher, who has been exposed as a former Director of telecommunications giant Optus, recently met with executives for a demonstration of the high-speed 5G mobile networks, as the $42.6 billion telco continues to build the new infrastructure across the country.
A spokesman for Mr Fletcher declined to comment on the minister’s meeting with Telstra, but said “the agency played an important role in providing authoritative advice to government and the community on matters of electromagnetic energy safety”.
Appearing before the inquiry, Mike Wood, Telstra’s principal for electromagnetic energy strategy, governance and risk, said the company wants to ‘educate’ the public about how 5G works.
He said research had been conducted on the impact of mobile networks on health, but called on the government to help with a “pro-active education campaign” to run with ARPANSA, because people were often unwilling to listen to Telstra.
“There is evidence to suggest that messaging in these campaigns is being influenced by foreign actors,” Telstra said, referencing a New York Times article claiming Russian broadcaster RT is spreading 5G health-related misinformation.
The Department of Communications and the Arts said in its submission that there had been an increased level of misinformation spread about 5G on social media, with use of low-quality studies put forward as evidence 5G will be dangerous.
TPG have recently scrapped intentions to continue with 5G network plans, with a senior TPG executive claiming the company scrapped the rollout following “community pressure” over the health impacts of wireless technology.
The mobile phone industry has been gearing up to take on growing community concerns about the potential health risks of 5G with a campaign backing the safety of the latest mobile technology.
Chris Althaus, Chief Executive of the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA), said the industry was taking “some significant steps to ramp up its education initiatives” by engaging media, governments and councils:
“We are very concerned about the level of misinformation that is out there. There is a great deal of churn, particularly on social media, that are reiterating and repeating points of view in relation to 5G that are simply untrue.
Australians have been expressing concerns about the dangers of 5G technology, and are backed by experts who have warned of the carcinogenic effects of EMF.
The groups have staged protests in recent months across the country and have scheduled a number of protests and forums to oppose the rollout.
Thus far, Telstra have been leading the charge, introducing a new 5G capable smart phone and leading a charge to upgrade hundreds of existing telecommunications locations across the country.
The additional installation of ‘smart cell’ boxes is directly related to Australia’s current rollout of smart city infrastructure across the country, which has also caused many concerns.
Researchers have also warned that 5G capabilities will underpin and enhance the sophisticated apparatus of surveillance technologies used by Australian intelligence networks.
A survey by Roy Morgan, published in August, found one in four Australians was concerned about the health impacts of 5G.
Why are Telstra and the government so resistant to listen to the concerns of their citizens?
Stay tuned for a summary on important submissions uncovered in the 5G inquiry coming soon.
Telstra Warns 5G Scare Campaign Is Growing | 10 Daily
Telcos prepare for 5G health backlash | Australian Financial Review
Inquiry launched into 5G in Australia | TOTT News
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