Early in the COVID-19 era health-related misinformation / disinformation / malinformaion (MDM) was identified as a threat to the global COVID-19 response by eroding public trust in health institutions. International authorities responded with a variety of strategies to address this perceived threat, including censorship and public messaging campaigns. A critical scoping review of the medical and social scientific peer-reviewed literature has been conducted to identify, summarise, and appraise expert meanings of MDM in the medical and scientific literature. The authors found that experts qualified content as MDM if it failed to align with consensus, rather than sound scientific arguments or analysis. Did the responses of authorities stifle open and free debate and dialogue?