Scientists Planning Protest March on Washington
These are unprecedented times for scientists who are facing their first wholesale “no press releases or social media” gag orders under the Trump administration. Word spread quickly after Buzzfeed broke the story that scientists from the EPA and Department of Agriculture were among the first to be told they were no longer allowed to communicate with the public about government funded research. This directive goes against previous orders, at least at the USDA, updated in 2016, urging the thousands of inhouse science staff to communicate with supervisors about “any instances where they feel public affairs or communications staff is stifling their ability to communicate about their work.”
Many worried that these aggressive moves by the new administration stifling scientists would be expanded to research programs in other areas (looking at you, environmental scientists as well as those studying vaccines, reproductive health, gun violence….well, looking at a lot of you). Social media-savvy scientists and angry bears jumped in the fray to offer their services in disseminating information from scientists falling under the gag order.
Taking things to the next level, organization spread rapidly thru Reddit and Twitter organizing a Scientists March on Washington protest. Details are only now emerging, but readers can find the Google Doc here to sign up for information and follow the very up-to-date Twitter account @ScienceMarchonDC which already has over 9,000 followers in less than 48h.
And it’s not even the first week. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride, sciencers.
What do you think about gag ordering scientists and how effective will a march be? We are fielding questions and comments!