It's no secret that the media has been having a hard time getting at access to BP employees or any individuals contracted to help with the oil spill clean-up in the Gulf of Mexico. And when reporters did get access, they were met with a chorus of "no comment" replies -- and now we know why.
Reporters at the University of North Carolina have obtained copies of contracts between BP and commercial fishermen which explicitly state that the contractors, charter operators and others involved in the response are not to speak with the media. Lauren Frohne and Jessey Dearing write at Powering a Nation:
The contract included a clause prohibiting them and their deckhands from making "news releases, marketing presentation, or any other public statements" while working on the clean-up. It also included an additional section titled "Agreement Regarding Proprietary and Confidential Information," which states that workers cannot disclose "Data" gathered while on the job, including "plans," "reports," "information" and "etc."
Read more and see photocopies of the contracts at Powering a Nation.