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United Kingdom Government The Media Science

UK Government 'Muzzling' Scientists 83

taikedz writes "Fiona Fox, chief executive of the Science Media Center, has claimed that leading scientists independently advising the UK government are being actively prevented from speaking to the public and media, especially in times of crisis when scientific evidence is necessary for a fully open and educated public debate, such as the current badger culling policy, and the past volcanic eruptions and ash fallout and their effects. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whom many of these scientists are advising, denies any such practices."
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UK Government 'Muzzling' Scientists

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  • Fear my laugh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Friday June 14, 2013 @11:05AM (#44007201) Journal

    Requests for interviews with scientists working for the Canadian federal government have frequently been turned down as a consequence of a media protocol introduced in 2008.
    This directive explicitly states that press officers should ensure that the minister is not embarrassed and that the interview is "along approved lines".

    Any time you see "Don't embarrass the minister", read: This is why freedom of speech is enshrined.

    "The dictator fears the laugh more than the assassin's bullet.". -- Robert A. Heinlein

  • This is what happens when you put professional spinmeisters in charge of professional workers: Dysfunction.

    Imagine putting a PR team in charge of the Doctors dealing with an epidemic. A doctor would like to announce quarantine measure, or tell people the full risks, or advise those who are sick, etc. If you had a PR man in charge, the whole epidemic would be treated as a mild flu, no-one would be informed, contagion would spread rapidly and thousands would die. "No matter", says the PR man, "We can spin that too.". But this misses the point.

    If you allow spin and the press office to dictate the running of an organisation, then the organisation effectively will not run at all. No professional can work properly with an unrelated lay person getting in his way 24/7.

    It's time to call PR men what they really are: Political Officers.

Matter cannot be created or destroyed, nor can it be returned without a receipt.