Thursday, March 18, 2010

Harpercons on climate change: 'bury the truth'

Climate-change scientists feel 'muzzled' by Ottawa: documents
National Post: A dramatic reduction in Canadian media coverage of climate change science issues is the result of the Harper government introducing new rules in 2007 to control interviews by Environment Canada scientists with journalists, says a newly released federal document.

'Scientists have noticed a major reduction in the number of requests, particularly from high profile media, who often have same-day deadlines,' said the Environment Canada document. 'Media coverage of climate change science, our most high-profile issue, has been reduced by over 80%'

The analysis reviewed the impact of a new federal communications policy... which required senior federal scientists to seek permission from the government prior to giving interviews. In many cases, the policy also required them to get approval from supervisors of written responses to the questions submitted by journalists before any interview... 'Our scientists are very frustrated wit the new process. They feel the intent of the policy is to prevent them from speaking to media.'...

The document also noted that government scientists voice their displeasure to communications officials about the policy during meetings in June 2008. A few months later, a couple of requests for interviews with scientists in the midst of the 2008 federal election campaign were never answered, including one request that was 'denied.'...

'It's definitely a scandal,' said Graham Saul, executive director of Climate Action Network Canada. He added that the government was 'muzzling scientists; they're putting climate deniers in key oversight positions over research, and they're reducing funding in key areas... It's almost as though they're making a conscious attempt to bury the truth.'
Image source here.