Critics pan instructions to Environment Canada scientists at Montreal conference

See on Scoop.itNunavut

Government media minders are being dispatched to an international polar conference in Montreal to monitor and record what Environment Canada scientists say to reporters.


There is growing concern in many quarters about what is being viewed as the government’s excessive information control.

Last week, the Ottawa Citizen reported how a reporter’s simple question about a Canada-U.S. study on snow generated a blizzard of paper at the National Research Council.

While a NASA scientist was free to pick up the phone and answer questions in a simple 15-minute interview, the NRC declined to let anyone speak with the reporter about the snow study. Instead 11 people in the Canadian agency eventually produced a list of equipment used in the study — information of little use in the story.

Environment Canada’s media office also often takes hours if not days to answer reporters’ questions, and to decide whether interviews will be granted.

Johnson took more than four hours Sunday to respond to a question about why Environment Canada wants to record interviews with its scientists, saying by email that the department maintains “a record of interviews in case of discrepancies.”

Several organizations say they are concerned with the silencing of Canada’s federal scientists. Most recently PEN Canada called on the government to ensure that any restraints on the free flow of scientific information are lifted immediately.

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About @mediamentor
Information Curation, Communication & Media / Cure d'information, communication et medias

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