Response to the complaint to Reed Elsevier, publishers of The Lancet

| Professor Graham Watt et al. |

In this public response to the smear campaign and personal attacks on Richard Horton, The Lancet Editor-in-Chief, Lancet Complaint to Reed Elsevier, we assert:

  1. Richard Horton is highly regarded as an exceptional leader in global health and as a campaigning Editor of The Lancet in the best traditions of the Journal.
  2. Politics is intrinsic to many health issues and a legitimate subject for health commentary and debate, especially in the world’s leading global health journal. Controversy is an inevitable and healthy aspect of public discourse on political issues.
  3. The “Open letter to the people of Gaza” addressed an important topical issue, the main points of which have been substantiated by subsequent, independent, reports of what happened in the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014, of which it is possible that some of the complainants are unaware.
  4. To describe the Open letter as ”stereotypical extremist hate propaganda” is inaccurate and unhelpful hyperbole.
  5. The Lancet provided equal coverage of views for and against the letter in subsequent published correspondence, reflecting the ratio of letters received by the Journal and allowing a healthy debate to take place.
  6. The Lancet Ombudsman’s review of the issue was balanced and fair, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the letter and how the controversy was handled, for all to see. She was not persuaded that the letter should be retracted.
  7. The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) is best placed to judge whether its Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines have been breached. A previous Chair of COPE has written that the Open letter should not be retracted.
  8. The heavy-handed attempt to force The Lancet to withdraw the Open letter is the latest in a series of attempts to stifle media coverage of the Israel-Palestine issue and should be resisted.
  9. In the light of reports by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the United Nations and others, the “unfinished business” of Operation Protective Edge is to determine whether and by whom, from either side of the conflict, violations of international human rights and humanitarian law were committed.

15 April 2015

Read the full response.

WRITING GROUP:

Professor Graham Watt MD FRCGP FRSE FMedSci, Professor of General Practice, University of Glasgow, UK

Sir Iain Chalmers DSc FFPH FRCP Edin FRCP FMedSci, Coordinator, James Lind Initiative, Oxford, UK

Professor Rita Giacaman, PharmD, MPhil, Professor of Public Health, Birzeit University, occupied Palestinian territory

Professor Mads Gilbert MD PhD, Professor of Emergency Medicine, University of Tromsø, Norway

Professor John S Yudkin MD FRCP, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, University College London, UK

If you wish to communicate with the Writing Group please email HandsOffTheLancet[at]Gmail.Com

SUPPORTING SIGNATORIES:

If you wish to add your name to this list of supporting signatories please use the form here

Professor Emeritus Jarle Aarbakke MD PhD Former President (Rector) UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway

Professor Adel Afifi, MD, MS Professor Emeritus, Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, US.

Professor Rima Afifi, PhD Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut, Lebanon.

Dr. Neil Arya, MD, CCFP, FCFP D Litt Assistant Clinical Professor Family Medicine, McMaster University, Adjunct Professor Family Medicine Western University, Adjunct Professor Environment and Resources Studies University of Waterloo, Canada.

Dr. Rajaie Batniji, MD, DPhil Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, Stanford University, US

Professor Robert Beaglehole DSc FRS(NZ) ONZM Professor Emeritus, University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Professor Espen Bjertness, PhD Head, Section of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology, Department of Community Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway.

Professor Rolf Busund, MD PhD Professor of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway.

Professor Simon Capewell DSc MD Professor of Clinical Epidemiology, University of Liverpool, UK.

Professor Phil Cotton MD Professor of Learning and Teaching, University of Glasgow, UK.

Professor George Davey Smith MD DSc FMedSci Professor of Clinical Epidemiology, University of Bristol, UK.

Professor John A Davies Emeritus Professor of Paediatrics, University of Cambridge, UK.4

Dr. James Deutsch, MD, PhD, FRCPC Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Canada.

Judith Deutsch, M.S.W. Faculty, Toronto Psychoanalytic Institute, Canada. Former President Science for Peace (2008-2012)

Professor Abbas Elzein, PhD Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering, University of Sydney, Australia.

Sir Terence English KBE FRCS FRCP. Former President of the Royal College of Surgeons, President of the British Medical Association and Master of St Catherine’s College, Cambridge, UK.

Professor Gene Feder MD FRCGP Professor of Primary Health Care, University of Bristol, UK.

Professor Olav Helge Foerde, MD PhD Department of Community Medicine, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway.

Professor Per Fugelli, MD Professor of Social Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway.

Dr. Miriam Garfinkle, MD Retired Community Physician, Independent Jewish Voices, Canada.

Dr. Emilio Gianicolo, PhD Researcher of the Italian National Research Council, Italy. Since September 2013, guest researcher at the University of Mainz, Institute of Medical Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics in Mainz, Germany.

Professor Gordon Guyatt, PhD Distinguished Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Medicine, McMaster University, Canada.

Professor Rima Habib, PhD, MPH, MOHS Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut, Lebanon.

Professor Gudmund Hernes Norwegian Business School, Oslo; Former Norwegian Minister of Education and Research (1990-95), and of Health (1995-97)

Professor Dennis Hogan,PhD Robert E. Turner Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Population Studies and Sociology, Brown University, US.

Professor Gerd Holmboe-Ottesen, PhD Section of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology, Department of Community Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway.

Professor Anne Husebekk MD PhD Rector of UiT, The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway.

Professor Tor Ingebrigtsen MD PhD Hospital Chief Executive/CEO, The University Hospital of North Norway, Tromsø, Norway.

Dr. Lars Jerden, MD, PhD Center for Clinical Research Dalarna, Sweden.

Professor Jak Jervell, PhD Professor Emeritus, Honorary President, International Diabetes Federation, Norway.

Professor Ann Louise Kinmonth CBE FMedSci Emeritus Professor of General Practice, University of Cambridge, UK.

Professor Rebecca Kay PhD Professor of Russian Gender Studies; Co-convenor Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network GRAMNET, University of Glasgow, UK

Professor Debbie Lawlor FMedSci Professor of Epidemiology, University of Bristol, UK.

Professor Jennifer Leaning, MD, SMH FXB Professor of Practice of Health and Human Rights, Director, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard University, US.

Professor Emeritus Georges Midrè, PhD Department of Sociology, Political Science and Community Planning, The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway.

Professor Alan Myers, MD, MPH, FAAP Professor of Paediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine, US.

Professor Kaare Norum, MS, PhD Former president (Rector) University of Oslo, Former Dean of Medical Faculty, University of Oslo, Norway.

Professor Iman Nuwayhid, PhD Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut, Lebanon.

Professor Kate O’Donnell PhD Professor of Primary Care Research and Development, University of Glasgow, UK.

Professor Ole Petter Ottersen, MD, PhD Rector of the University of Oslo, Norway.

Professor Alison Phipps, OBE, PHD, FRSE Professor of Languages and Intercultural Studies, University of Glasgow, UK. Co-Convener: Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network, UK.

Professor Raija-Leena Punamaki, PhD School of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Tampere, Finland.

Reem A. Qadir MSW RSW A social worker with extensive work experience in Individual and Family Therapy, Canada.

Dr. Sara Roy, PhD Senior Research Scholar Associate, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University, US.

Professor Harry Shannon, PhD Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, Canada

Professor Debbie Sharp PhD FRCGP Professor of Primary Health Care, University of Bristol, UK.

Dr. Angelo Stefanini, MD, MPH Scientific Director, Centre for International Health. Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Bologna, Italy.

Professor Johanne Sundby, PhD/MD Department of Community Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway.

Dr. George Tawil, MD Clinical Associate Professor, Georgetown University Hospital, Washington DC. Past president of the Medical Staff, Inova Alexandria Hospital, Alexandria, Virginia. Past Chair, Medical Affairs Council, Inova Health Systems, Fairfax, Virginia, US.

Professor Paul Wallace FRCGP FFPHM Emeritus David Cohen Professor of Primary Care, University College London, UK.

Professor Steinar Westin MD PhD Department of Public Health and General Practice, The Norwegian Institute of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway.

Professor Salim Yusuf, DPhil, FRCPC, FRSC, O.C. Professor of Medicine, McMaster University, Canada

Professor Huda Zurayk, PhD Professor and previous Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut, Lebanon.

To view the list of scientists, clinicians and researchers who have co-signed this response since its publication click here