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NASA scientists free at last …

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NASA scientists are now free to speak with journalists without fear of reprisal from agency officials — or, worse, Bush administration political appointees.

At least that’s what the new “NASA Policy on the Release of Information to News and Information Media” appears to say. NASA administrator Michael Griffin released the new rules earlier this week.

The new rules come in the wake of allegations that NASA political appointees sought to suppress NASA scientists’ free speech rights by restricting information that did not mirror the political views of the Bush administration.

Here’s the paragraph that counts:

NASA employees may speak to the media and the public about their work. When doing so, employees shall notify their immediate supervisor and coordinate with their public affairs office in advance of interviews whenever possible, or immediately thereafter, and are encouraged, to the maximum extent practicable, to have a public affairs officer present during interviews. If public affairs officers are present, their role will be to attest to the content of the interview, support the interviewee, and provide post-interview follow up with the media as necessary. [emphasis added]

I guess that’s better than nothing. And I wonder why the policy, “written by an internal team of scientists, lawyers, public affairs specialists and managers,” according to the Post, had to be eight pages long.


Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

March 31, 2006 at 2:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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