Scientist cleared of libel in court

A Taiwanese environmental engineer, sued for suggesting a link between a petrochemical company's emissions and cancer rates, has been cleared of libel by a court, reports Michele Catanzaro for Nature.

In April 2012 Formosa Plastics Group, or FPG, filed a civil suit for a tort claim and a criminal suit for defamation against Ben-Jei Tsuang of National Chung Hsing University in Taichung, Taiwan. Tsuang had presented evidence suggesting increased cancer risk in the vicinity of an FPG hydrocarbon-processing facility in Mailiao. His results were displayed at a scientific meeting in 2010 and in a press conference in 2011, and he has since submitted a paper to Atmospheric Environment.

FPG, which is based in Taipei, demanded that Tsuang pay US$1.3 million in damages and publish a statement of apology in four major newspapers. More than 1,000 academics expressed support for Tsuang in an open letter. Last week, judges at the Taipei District Court ruled against the plaintiffs' claims and announced that they would dismiss the criminal suit. Tsuang’s declarations were “fair comments on a fact subject to public criticism".
Full report on the Nature site