Security agents were much in evidence as EPFL President Patrick Aebischer welcomes Al Gore to Lausanne.
Reporters take exception to a media blackout of the ceremony in the Vaud capital that confers an honorary degree on the Nobel prize winner.
Al Gore received an honorary doctorate from the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne Tuesday but, like the greenhouse gases he is famous for combating, he was invisible to the media. Reporters were shut out of the ceremony where the Nobel Peace Prize winner accepted his degree, which honors the former US vice-president’s efforts to publicize the climate change issue. A select few journalists were invited to attend the affair on the condition they did not report on what was said and did not film the event or take photographs – an edict that went down like a lead balloon with local news organizations.
Thierry Meyer, editor-in-chief of the Lausanne-based 24 Heures newspaper, wrote a commentary piece today decrying the secrecy. Meyer said readers should have the right to an account of the exchange between Gore and the students come to hear him speak – and not just carefully selected extracts selected for a press release. The irony of the situation is that Gore has become a media guru and communicator, famous for his role as narrator in the documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth. In this case, his message at EPFL got lost in the hub hub over the media blackout, apparently ordered by Gore’s staff.