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Stop muzzling scientists, Canadian government urged

The World Federation of Science Journalists has joined two of its Canadian member associations in calling on the Canadian government to stop preventing its scientists talking to journalists, particularly on health and environment issues.

During the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver on 17 February, the Quebec Association of Science Communicators and the Canadian Science Writers Association organised a panel to discuss the Canadian government’s policy of obstructing access to its scientists.

“The Prime Minister (Stephen Harper) is keen to keep control of the message, I think to ensure that the government won’t be embarrassed by scientific findings of its scientists that run counter to sound environmental stewardship,” Thomas Pedersen, a scientists from the University of Victoria, told the BBC.

“I suspect the federal government would prefer that its scientists don’t discuss research that points out just how serious the climate change challenge is,” he added.