Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

US Chemical Safety Board drops flawed policy following criticism from Embargo Watch

with one comment

us csbOn Thursday, I wrote about a troubling embargo policy at the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) that forced reporters to agree not to seek outside comment on an investigation report before the embargo lifted, meaning only the CSB’s side of the story would make it into those first pieces.

To their credit the CSB heeded my criticisms, and they’ve decided to change their policy. Managing Director Daniel Horowitz responded Saturday with a comment:

Thanks for raising this. We hadn’t given it much thought but will review those embargo policy statements in light of this critique. We developed the statement a few years ago in response to various media outlets breaking embargoes on reports, on the theory that this would provide a more orderly process. Happy to give it a second look.

Horowitz gave me more detail when I emailed him:

…we discussed it and we are going to drop the policy in its entirety for future reports.  Thanks for bringing to our attention.  It was really just a response to some broken embargoes in the past, rather than any effort to restrict discussion (which we welcome).

The CSB also discussed the matter on Twitter.

Kudos, US Chemical Safety Board, you’ve joined the Embargo Watch Honor Roll.

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Written by Ivan Oransky

February 3, 2014 at 9:15 am

One Response

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  1. Good on you, Ivan. I’ve always found CSB pretty easy to work with; reassuring that they were so reasonable here. A sad sign of our times that an authority acting smartly and putting the public interest first is a surprise worthy of an honor roll.

    Dan Vergano

    February 8, 2014 at 12:38 pm


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