Document Detail

A survey of suppression of public health information by Australian governments.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  18081576     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: It is cause for concern when a democratically elected government suppresses embarrassing information by hindering public health research or the publication of research findings. We conducted a survey of Australian public health academics to estimate the level of acts of suppression of research by Australian governments, to characterise these events, and to gather views on what interventions might be effective in curbing them.
METHODS: A total of 302 academics in 17 institutions completed a postal questionnaire in August 2006 (46% of 652 invited). The instrument sought details of suppression events they had witnessed since 2001.
RESULTS: There were 142 suppression events, including 85 personally experienced by 21.2% (n=64) of respondents. The rates were higher in 2005/06 than in earlier years. No State or Territory was immune from suppression. Although governments most commonly hindered research by sanitising, delaying or prohibiting publications (66% of events), no part of the research process was unaffected. Researchers commonly believed their work was targeted because it drew attention to failings in health services (48%), the health status of a vulnerable group (26%), or pointed to a harm in the environment (11%). The government agency seeking to suppress the health information mostly succeeded (87%) and, consequently, the public was left uninformed or given a false impression. Respondents identified a full range of participative, cognitive, structural and legislative control strategies.
CONCLUSION: The suppression of public health information is widely practised by Australian governments.
IMPLICATIONS: Systemic interventions are necessary to preserve the integrity of public health research conducted with government involvement.
Boshra Yazahmeidi; C D'Arcy J Holman
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Australian and New Zealand journal of public health     Volume:  31     ISSN:  1326-0200     ISO Abbreviation:  Aust N Z J Public Health     Publication Date:  2007 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2007-12-17     Completed Date:  2008-02-12     Revised Date:  2014-03-25    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9611095     Medline TA:  Aust N Z J Public Health     Country:  Australia    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  551-7     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Access to Information*
Consumer Health Information*
Data Collection
Human Rights
Middle Aged
Public Health*
Comment In:
Aust N Z J Public Health. 2008 Feb;32(1):90   [PMID:  18290925 ]

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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