BIO and the Fourth Estate

The annual linkurl:BIO International Convention;http://www.bio2007.org/ is under way in Boston, and already TV programs, newspaper articles and blogs are fizzing with stories of the great and the good in biotechnology. But there will be one notable exception to the blanket coverage of the event. Reporters entering the press room were greeted with a sign stating that the media will not be able to attend the linkurl:keynote presentation on Tuesday;http://www.bio2007.

By | May 7, 2007

The annual linkurl:BIO International Convention;http://www.bio2007.org/ is under way in Boston, and already TV programs, newspaper articles and blogs are fizzing with stories of the great and the good in biotechnology. But there will be one notable exception to the blanket coverage of the event. Reporters entering the press room were greeted with a sign stating that the media will not be able to attend the linkurl:keynote presentation on Tuesday;http://www.bio2007.org/Attendees/educational_sessions/Keynote_Sessions.htm, given by Queen Noor of Jordan. This seems a mysterious approach to an event that traditionally embraces the press and allows many avenues to report on advances in the biotech industry. But BIO officials say this is at the request of Queen Noor of Jordan's people, who are concerned about the safety of her new family, as well as guarding against being misconstrued by the press. This is as much a sad indictment of our times as it is a growing trend for companies or institutions that court publicity yet are unwilling to linkurl:provide full access;http://www.the-scientist.com/2007/4/1/13/1/. For instance at BIO last year former president linkurl:Bill Clinton's keynote speech;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/23327/ was closed to the media, although Clinton's group later agreed to let trade press attend the event. What makes this a particular shame is that Queen Noor of Jordan is the founder and chair of the linkurl:King Hussein Foundation International;http://www.noor.gov.jo/khf.htm, a non-profit, non-governmental organization that aims to foster peace and security through programs that promote cross cultural understanding and social, economic and political opportunity in the Muslim and Arab world; a worthy cause that should be promoted as much as possible. So what will Queen Noor say that I'm not supposed to hear or report on? If I find out I'll let you know.

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