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Complainant Name:
Dr Neville Cobbe

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: The Times

Complaint:

Dr Neville Cobbe of the University of Edinburgh complained that a series of articles on the controversial proposal for the creation of “human-animal” embryos in order to treat diseases such as Alzheimer’s and motor neuron disease were unduly polarised and misleading. In particular, the complainant was concerned that the newspaper’s coverage raised hopes of successful treatment without sufficient scientific proof and over-emphasised the role of religious groups in attempting to ban such research.

The newspaper – which provided its science editor’s substantive comments on the articles – did not consider that its coverage raised a breach of the Code: rather, its reports accurately reflected the claims of leading scientists who advocated such research and did not assert that any potential experiments would definitely be successful.

Resolution:

The complainant considered the newspaper’s responses to be very helpful in understanding the circumstances more fully and accepted that the coverage accurately accounted for the views of at least one of the scientists featured. While he was disappointed that the newspaper did not agree to publish a letter from him on the subject, the complainant wished for there to be a summary of his concerns on the PCC website.

Report: 74



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