The Times newspaper apologizes to scientists for defaming article



By Dr Farsalinos

Few days ago, I presented the article by the newspaper The Times which falsely accused scientists for performing studies with tobacco industry funds and for being under the pay roll of the tobacco industry. The title used in the article was “Academics making a packet”, which was pretty insulting and of course totally wrong.

Today, the newspaper released an apology note in its website. They restore the truth noting that none of the scientists mentioned have received funds from the tobacco industry for research on e-cigarettes. Obviously, the apology will not generate the same publicity as the original article, although another newspaper has published the story. Moreover, I am concerned about whether the apology is enough to reduce the strong dogmatism that prevails in this discussion. The original piece in The Times was strongly defamatory, and could seriously hurt the reputation of the scientists named. This is totally unacceptable, considering that there was not even a single sentence on any wrong-doings (research misconduct, mispresentation or misinterpretation of studies) from the scientists mentioned. In my opinion, that was a new low in the Public Health debate on smoking and tobacco harm reduction.

I sincerely hope that the media will do a better job in the future. It may be tempting to create and present conspiracy stories, but such unfair, lying and defamatory attacks should be condemned by everyone.




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