This article on the New Scientist website points out the added difficulty researchers are faced with now that the UK government have made it even harder for them to engage with the media. Now, scientists working within government-funded institutions will have to gain permission from their minister before being allowed to speak to journalists. All this extra red tape will make it harder for science and research to be communicated effectively with the public.
Experiences in Canada, where a similar rule has already been enforced, suggests that the government can now suppress the release of certain scientific information, denying the public knowledge that may sway their opinions.
Although it isn’t obvious at the moment what degree of impact this change will have, there is worry among the scientific community that the openness and honesty both scientists and the public crave will be hampered by meddlesome ministers who want to keep certain information under wraps. In order for society to progress and for the public to be fully informed before making political decisions, current research must be communicated to the wider community. To censor our discoveries is not a good idea.