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Researchers Slam MBC Cloning Report

Posted December. 05, 2005 07:09,   


Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh under Korean stem cell pioneer Hwang Woo-suk said, “MBC producers of PD Diary told us that they came to hurt Professor Hwang and professor Kang Seong-keun, and they added that they don’t want others to be hurt,” during an interview with the news cable channel YTN.

Two researchers of them added, “We never told MBC that Hwang’s research papers are fake. We heard on several occasions from PD Diary team that Hwang’s paper would be canceled and he would be arrested.”

If their testimony to YTN is true, it is likely that MBC will be blamed for unethical news gathering since producers of PD Diary conciliated and threatened researchers on the presumption that Hwang’s paper was fake.

YTN broadcast its interview with Kim Seon-jong and Park Jong-hyeok, who worked under Gerald Schatten at the University of Pittsburgh, yesterday on its 3:00 p.m. newscast.

YTN went to the U.S. and met them at the University of Pittsburgh, and interviewed researchers under Professor of Medical School Ahn Kyu-ri at the Seoul National University, who returned Korea on December 3.

Researcher Kim said, “Producers of PD Diary insisted there are no cells. So I made it clear there are.”

Researcher Park said, “MBC producers told me that two research papers would be canceled since cell lines were found fake. They also said to me that Hwang would be arrested and the world would be turned upside down.”

Kim said, “The producers told me that if the prosecution starts an investigation, the investigation also will get underway in the U.S. They added that if I tell the truth, I would be offered with the solution to my future career direction,” suggesting that there were both conciliations and threats.

The two researchers said, “PD Diary producers duped us into believing that they were making a three-installment documentary. At first we believed their words, but, we soon felt something was wrong. So asked them whether they are recording or taping the interview, but they did not answer.”

YTN said that the coverage of MBC might have affected the departure of Gerald Schatten from Hwang’s team, since PD Diary producers met the researchers on October 20, and researchers told Schatten about the interview.

Researcher Park said, “We were supposed to brief Schatten. Knowing that MBC interviewed us, Schatten asked us to brief him on the interview. And we did.”

PD Diary producers insisted that Schatten’s departure had nothing to do with them since they met Schatten long afterward.

Producers of PD Diary also interviewed another. However, YTN couldn’t reach the researcher due to his uncertain whereabouts.

Jung-Bo Suh wolfkim@donga.com suhchoi@donga.com