Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

World Health Organization embargo on multi-drug resistant TB data broken

with one comment

The embargo on a World Health Organization study of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis has been broken, according to an email from the organization today at 12:07 Eastern time. The news was embargoed until 11 a.m. Eastern/4 p.m. Geneva time on Tuesday, March 23 — World TB Day.

Sarah Boseley of The Guardian reported that a Swedish newspaper broke it. On April 1, the WHO confirmed that it was the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, whose reporters will be barred from the WHO media list for a month.

The WHO has taken a hard line against embargo breaks in the past. In December 2007, they suspended The New York Times from their media distribution list for two weeks after the paper accidentally broke the embargo on a study on measles. When the WHO sent out an email about the punishment, Slate‘s Jack Shafer noted said the Times was “publicly spanked,” and I called it a “public flogging.”

This post has been updated from the original, most recently at 9:20 a.m. Eastern on April 1, 2010.

Hat tip to Maryn McKenna


Written by Ivan Oransky

March 18, 2010 at 2:32 pm

One Response

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  1. I’ve not seen the report, but many journals and organizations waive embargo rules in situations where new research findings could have significant public health impact, opting for the fastest, widest distribution. Not so here?

    Bill Silberg

    March 18, 2010 at 4:42 pm

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