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While some scientists claim that FOI requests may jeopardise their research, lack of transparency within the healthcare industry remains a major concern. The BMJ’s Deborah Cohen has done remarkable work for her own publication as well as Panorama and Channel 4 to investigate the secrecy within the pharmaceutical and medical devices industry. She brings her investigations together for the first time in her piece for Index, revealing the consequences of what can happen when critical evidence is unavailable to the medical profession [pp. 59–72].
In the US, Heather Weaver reveals the tactics used by the creationist lobby to push their influence – a battle that has continued since the famous Scopes trial of 1925. Despite the defeat of creationists since then to win in court, they have developed sophisticated means of spreading their message and there is worrying evidence of their influence on the American public – according to a study published by Science in January, 60 per cent of public school biology teachers ‘legitimise creationist arguments’.
Also in this issue, as the Leveson inquiry into the ethics of the media continues in the UK, Julian Petley talks to the distinguished lawyer Sir Louis Blom-Cooper about regulating the press. Blom-Cooper was appointed head of the Press Council at the end of the 80s, one of the last times there was a national crisis about the ethics of the press – his insights into the current climate are worth considering. We’re also delighted to publish celebrated Dutch-Moroccan author Abdelkader Benali’s views on the origins of the Arab spring, alongside fiction and essays from North Africa and Iran. You can follow Index on Censorship as always on our website for the latest stories on censorship around the world www.indexoncensorship.org
©Jo Glanville 40(4): 1/5 DOI: 10.1177/0306422011428856 www.indexoncensorship.org