The complaint concerns an article entitled ‘Erasmus MC can’t just throw the Uyghurs under the bus, can it?’, in which an Uyghur student who attends EUR is quoted. The student was fierce about the fact that a researcher affiliated with Erasmus MC, in his capacity as a researcher working for a Chinese research institute, had used Uyghur DNA that could not be guaranteed to have been obtained in an ethical manner.

As an Uyghur student attending Erasmus University (of which Erasmus MC, i.e., the Faculty of Medicine, is part), she felt unsafe at her own university.

One point of criticism for Erasmus MC was the fact that the student used the article to vent her anger about the fact that Erasmus MC had not imposed any sanctions on the researcher concerned and had ‘not even [had] a proper conversation’ with him. She believed this was the case because of the reaction given by Erasmus MC in an article published by a journalism platform called Follow the Money (FTM). Erasmus MC said that it had spoken to the researcher concerned, but that no sanctions had been imposed, as mentioned in the reaction given to FTM. EM’s journalist failed to check this with Erasmus MC before publishing the article. However, EM’s editors did ask Erasmus MC for a response to the Uyghur student’s criticism immediately upon publication of the article and posted Erasmus MC’s reaction along with the article.

The Press Council had the following to say on the matter: Erasmus MC “was mentioned in one breath with controversial scientific research conducted by one of its researchers and has been severely disqualified as a result. The article contains a mix of facts and opinions, which are not always distinguished in a way that is clear to a reader.”

Conclusions drawn by the Press Council do not have any formal consequences in the form of sanctions or fines to be imposed. However, the Council does recommend that the medium that has been found to be at fault properly acknowledge the conclusion in its publications, which Erasmus Magazine is hereby doing.

The link to the complete verdict can be found on the Netherlands Press Council’s website (Dutch only).