In North Carolina, authorities are threatening to send a blogger to prison for blogging about his battle against diabetes….
Steve Cooksey has learned that the definition, at least in the eyes of the state board, is expansive.
When he was hospitalized with diabetes in February 2009, he decided to avoid the fate of his grandmother, who eventually died of the disease. He embraced the low-carb, high-protein Paleo diet, also known as the “caveman” or “hunter-gatherer” diet. The diet, he said, made him drug- and insulin-free within 30 days. By May of that year, he had lost 45 pounds and decided to start a blog about his success.
But this past January the state diatetics and nutrition board decided Cooksey’s blog — Diabetes-Warrior.net — violated state law. The nutritional advice Cooksey provides on the site amounts to “practicing nutrition,” the board’s director says, and in North Carolina that’s something you need a license to do.
I Received a Letter from the NC Board of Nutrition and DietitiansBY STEVE COOKSEY, ON APRIL 27TH, 2012
I received a letter from the North Carolina Board of Dietetics and Nutritionists stating that I am in ‘substantial compliance’ with NC Law. The letter was dated April 9, 2012 and I received it April 20, 2012. If this is new to you, click here for the investigation post.
In January, the state board opened an investigation into my blog and told me to stop advising people through my blog postings, publicly or in private. No matter if it was for compensation or for free. Essentially, the board told me that not only could I not charge people to talk about diet, I could not talk to my friends about diet.
The board made it clear that talking about diet without a license is a crime and they could take me to court.
In response to this investigation, I did three things:
1) stopped doing my published advice column.
2) took down my diabetes support package links.
3) and made my disclaimer more prominent. Additionally, I added a disclaimer at the bottom of every page.
Because I complied with their order to stop speaking and to change what I say and what I publish, the board concluded that I am in substantial compliance and closed the investigation.
All this means is that the board has violated my First Amendment rights by silencing me and altering how I express my opinions.
My compliance is compliance with their violation of my rights, not an agreement between us that I was wrong and they were right.
The letter actually threatens to keep monitoring me.
I have absolutely no intention of complying with the board’s violation of my free speech rights. I intend to defend those rights, not only for myself, but for everyone.
This is America and in America people should be free to give each other advice about things like diet.
This isn’t the end of the fight, this is not over.
It’s just the end of round one.