Several journalists from UNC-Chapel Hill have obtained BP’s agreement with at least one of its contractors that show workers were forbidden to speak with the media until the company reversed its policy last week.

BP required workers employed in the Vessels of Opportunity program to sign a contract that included a clause prohibiting them and their deckhands from making “news releases, marketing presentation, or any other public statements” while working on the cleanup . Fishermen who violated the contract could have lost their jobs.

The UNC journalists are part of a team working on Powering a Nation, that investigates the political, economic and scientific tensions behind U.S. energy use.
Powering a Nation is affiliated with News21, a national initiative sponsored by the Carnegie and Knight foundations to innovate the news business.

These journalists also posted a brief video about a community of Vietnamese fishermen awaiting a training class that would certify them to help with BP’s clean-up operations