EUSJA Statement on embargoes and manipulation

The European Union of Science Journalists’ Associations (www.eusja.org) condemns the outrageous abuse of the embargo system that was perpetrated a few days ago to manipulate the press in order to get a favourable, acritical coverage of a study on the controversial and important issue of food safety in relationship to genetically modified organisms.

The main reason for embargoes is to give reporters more time to write better stories, and to collect qualified opinions by trusted experts not related to the study.

In the case of the paper by Seralini et al, journalists received the full-text in advance only after signing a non-disclosure agreement barring them from contacting any independent expert before publication.

Such non-disclosure agreements go against the rationale for embargoes, and transform them from a useful tool to help science journalists to better inform the public into a tool for manipulating the media, and must then be condemned as unacceptable and unethical for journalists and for scientists.

Science must be open to outside scrutiny by the society, and by the press.

Signed unanimously by the EUSJA board
(Barbie Drillsma, UK; Viola Egikova, Russia; Elmar Veerman,The Netherlands;
Wolfgang Goede, Germany; Menelaos Sotiriou, Greece; Fabio Turone, Italy)
in Bad Gastein, October 4th 2012.

Follows an excerpt of the results of the initial review by the The European Food Safety Authority:

«The European Food Safety Authority has concluded that a recent paper raising concerns about the potential toxicity of genetically modified (GM) maize NK603 and of a herbicide containing glyphosate is of insufficient scientific quality to be considered as valid for risk assessment.

EFSA’s initial review found that the design, reporting and analysis of the study, as outlined in the paper, are inadequate. To enable the fullest understanding of the study the Authority has invited authors Séralini et al to share key additional information.»
Link to the press-release: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/121004.htm

About EUSJA Board

The board of Eusja is currently composed by Barbie Drillsma (United Kingdom, President), Viola Egikova (Russia, Vice-president), Priit Ennet (Estonia, Treasurer), Wolfgang Goede (Germany, Hon. Secretary) and Menelaos Sotiriou (Greece, co-opted member).