Here’s how National’s “brighter future” is working out for scientists (good work by RNZ):
More scientists complain of gagging
More scientists are coming forward saying they are being gagged or pressured, the Association of Scientists says.
Late last year the association released a poll showing 40 percent of scientists surveyed felt they were not able to speak out on issues within their areas of expertise because of management policy or concern over losing funding.
Its president, Nicola Gaston, said since the survey was made public she had been approached by several scientists who have felt pressured or gagged.
Dr Gaston said the pressure on scientists was occurring in universities and Crown Research Institutes (CRIs), as pressure went on to raise more funding from industry.
I’t hard to argue that intimidation is not going on when the PM is openly contemptuous of scientists (that don’t suit his purposes), and the government sometimes attacks them (Mike Joy). It’s hard to argue that intimidation is not going on when the one of the worst offenders gets to boast about it in Metro:
He [Carrick Graham] was the probably the darkest character in Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics. A man who was paid to attack anyone who stood up to his wealthy international sugar, tobacco and alcohol clients. A shadowy figure who fought behind the anonymity of social media and wrote some of the more virulent posts on his friend Cameron Slater’s Whale Oil blog site.
We’re sitting in Graham’s white, modern Parnell offices. There are some big-screen Mac computers, framed political cartoons, a set of vintage water skis and just around one corner an array of passport-sized photographs, stuck to the wall like a TV cop show operations room, linked by coloured thread. These are his current targets, complete with their affiliated organisations and their available budgets. Currently most of the photos relate to people linked to the HRC, the Health Research Council. This is the major funder on behalf of central government of biomedical, public health, Maori health and Pacific health research.
These are the people Graham is currently being paid to attack. But at the top of the mosaic is a single photograph with no organisation or budget attached. The man is Boyd Swinburn, Professor of Population Nutrition and Global Health at Auckland University. It depends which side you’re on, but this feels to me a little like James Bond and Dr Evil, locked in a battle for the hearts and minds of people like us – both literally and metaphorically.
Graham says Swinburn is a worthy adversary – and in this twisted world, that’s high praise indeed. Most of the other people stuck to the wall are, in Cameron Slater’s view, “troughers”, feeding off the public purse.
Read more of that piece if you have the stomach for it, very educational.
Labour is looking in to it:
Calls for investigation into silenced scientists
The Labour Party is urging the Government to set up an independent investigation into claims that many scientists feel gagged.
The Government is disputing the accuracy of a survey that has found 40 percent of scientists feel they can’t speak publicly about their field of expertise, either because they are forbidden to or because they fear losing funding.
Labour science and innovation spokesperson David Cunliffe said any silencing of scientists was insidious.
“Academics often feel suppressed from speaking openly about the results of their research if it’s going to rock the boat, shall we say, either for the university or the government.
“Academic freedom means that our scientists and our research should be able to state publicly the results of their research. And there’s a public good in that – that’s how we as a society get the facts and learn.”
— ActionStation (@actionstation) June 23, 2015
The slow implosion of serious media. New laws to criminalise online dissent. Gagging scientists. This doesn’t end well.