Journalism Groups Urge White House To Let Government Experts Speak Freely to Journalists and Public

Letter signed by 24 groups seeks meeting

with Scientific Integrity Task Force


July 26, 2021 — The Society of Environmental Journalists joined with the Society of Professional Journalists and 23 other journalism groups in sending a letter today to the White House to request a meeting with the White House Scientific Integrity Task Force. The groups wish to discuss protection against interference in journalists' work, stating facts and making recommendations.

The letter says in part, "Our job is intentionally hindered by the U.S. government in many ways, including barring government scientists, issue specialists and other government employees from communicating directly with reporters and even refusing to allow interviews of such scientists or specialists, even with oversight by a public information officer."

And "... scientific integrity is threatened when rules pressure people not to speak without controls or notification of people in power. Agencies that control the public scrutiny of themselves can develop critical weaknesses and be subjected to political interference."

"It is imperative that federal agencies be responsive and open to reporters who are seeking the truth in the public's best interest," said SEJ President Sadie Babits. "This is fundamental to our democracy. That's why we, along with dozens of other journalism organizations, ask that federal employees, scientists in many cases, be allowed to speak openly and freely to members of the press."