Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

The retrobargo: European Society of Cardiology sends out an embargoed release hours after the embargo

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Notice anything strange about this email excerpt?

From: European Society of Cardiology [mailto: xxxx]
Sent: Monday, August 23, 2010 10:47 AM
To: [xxxx]
Subject: Breathing symptoms emerge as a key target of therapy in acute heart failure

Embargoed: 06.00hrs UK time MONDAY 23 AUGUST 2010

Here’s a hint: Is 06.00hrs UK time before or after 10:47 a.m. Eastern time, which is when the email was sent?

Yes, it’s before. Nine hours and 47 minutes before, in fact. As if 65-minute embargoes weren’t bad enough, we now have negative time embargoes.

A new name seems in order. I vote for retrobargo, but I’m open to other suggestions.

The European Society of Cardiology’s (ESC) annual meeting gets underway later this week in Stockholm. From an embargo standpoint, the runup hasn’t been going well. There was this release on Monday. And the FT’s Clive Cookson contacted Embargo Watch Friday, August 20th, to note that he had received the press book for the conference just two hours before the mass embargo lift on oral and poster presentations at 6 p.m. Central European Time that day. The embargoes lifted on those a week before the conference starts on Friday.

None of this confusion and disorganization will stop the ESC from punishing those whom they say have broken embargoes, apparently, according to their embargo policy. Here are the guidelines, which I must acknowledge get points for clarity.

Breaking of the embargo policy by a reporter leads to:

  • Immediate suspension of the reporter’s media credentials
  • Immediate barring of the reporter from the meeting premises
  • Removal of the reporter’s name from the ESC Press distribution list for 1 year
  • No access as a media representative to the following year’s ESC Congress
  • No access as a media representative to any other congresses organized by the ESC for 1 year
  • Media outlets that employ the reporter or who hired the freelancer to write for them will be barred from accessing next year’s ESC Congress and from sending reporters to any other ESC organised congress for 1 year.

Please do not hesitate to check with one of the ESC Press Office staff members if in doubt!

I did contact the press office for clarification on the retrobargo, but haven’t heard back. I’ll update if I do hear anything, or I’ll try to travel back in time, if necessary.

Written by Ivan Oransky

August 25, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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