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Vic festival pulls anti-vaccination film

AAP logoAAP 23/09/2016

Organisers say a "highly co-ordinated" campaign of abuse and intimidation towards staff at a small country film festival in Victoria has forced them to remove a controversial anti-vaccination film from the program.

VAXXED: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe was to have its Australian premiere at the Castlemaine Local and International Film Festival next month.

But the documentary, directed by discredited medical researcher Andrew Wakefield, has now been scratched from the 12-film program.

The documentary, which was pulled earlier this year from Robert De Niro's Tribeca Film Festival, alleges the United States' leading public health authority covered up a link between a vaccination and autism.

"It has come to the point where members of the CLIFF team feel personally and professionally threatened," Castlemaine festival organisers said online.

"It is a sad reflection on the state of Australian democracy that legitimate questions cannot be raised in a public forum without inciting a campaign of ill-informed and dishonest intimidation."

The committee said the proposed screening and accompanying discussion would have been "an important contribution to presenting information about this issue so the public can make an informed judgement".

Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy says wisdom has prevailed and she's urged people to "stare down the myth makers".

"I'll back the health of our children every time against the anti-vaccination movement," she posted online.

Mr Wakefield in 1998 authored a now-widely-discredited paper alleging a link between the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and autism.

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