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ESOMAR condemns political intimidation targeting opinion researchers

13 April 2017

Amsterdam, the Netherlands, April 13, 2017– ESOMAR, the World Association for Data, Research and Insights emphatically condemns all forms of political intimidation targeting opinion researchers imparting relevant information and trends during an election, thereby informing citizens to make a free and informed decision about their country's future. It further expresses its support of the AAPOR/WAPOR statement regarding intervention against pollsters in Ecuador and other countries.

"For decades, our sector through its professional standards has made good on its promise to instill public trust and confidence. We recognize the importance of our societal mission to measure and report views and behaviors based on scientifically gathered data and statistical evidence. Accordingly, we urge Governments not to take steps that undermine that public trust and confidence", said Finn Raben, Director General at ESOMAR.

The Ecuadoran Government's forced entry and arrest of staff from Ecuadoran polling agency CEDATOS sets a dangerous precedent that cannot be supported nor justified and contravenes international law supporting the freedom to share and disseminate information, the freedom of speech, and the right to fair and free elections. We urge the Ecuadoran Government to cease its actions, release the property and staff of CEDATOS, and refrain from repeating them in the future.

It is useful to recall that far from advocating opinions or promoting political views, social and opinion researchers measure and report views and behaviours based on scientifically gathered data and statistical evidence. Such research is used to report on citizens' views about the society in which they live and therefore any hindrance to the free flow of information impacts on the delivery of effective, evidence-based policy-making and the reporting of fair and free elections. Opinion research is not an exact science, but it remains the best method to report the views of ordinary citizens.