Businesses are being encouraged to speak out in the independence debate.
Both sides of the argument should feel able to air their views without being “in the firing line”, according to Lord Wallace, the Advocate General for Scotland.
The former Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, speaking ahead of a Confederation of British Industry (CBI) event in Aberdeen, said: “These are matters which are too important to be left only to politicians.
“It is vitally important that trusted voices from academia and business give voters the benefit of their views and experience, irrespective on which side of the debate they support.
“Many of us know from personal experience that when a message gets in the way of independence it often ends up with the messenger being in the firing line.
“I urge you not to be intimidated out of this most important of debates.”
It follows a row about freedom of speech involving academics who were upset that a Scottish Government minister questioned a professor’s impartiality.
Shona Robison, a Dundee MSP, intervened when it emerged Professor Chris Whatley had spoken at a Better Together event while also chairing an impartial project to investigate issues raised by the referendum.
Earlier this week, she said: “I would never try to stifle debate or attempt to restrict the right of anyone, whether an academic or not, to have a view in the debate on Scotland’s future.”