Dutch Council stands by documentary produced to highlight Indian pharma company's alleged damage to the environment

Author: Anoo Bhuyan, The Wire, Published on: 28 February 2019

"Indian Pharma Firm Complains About Documentary; Dutch Council Stands by It", 1 March 2019

“It smells terrible here,” says Dutch journalist Jos van Dongen in his documentary on Indian medicines, broadcast in 2018. Red in the face, coughing and sneezing, he narrates what he is experiencing and says, “The stench is unbelievable. It affects your airways as well as your eyes.”

The real price of cheap medicines was broadcast in April 2018, by the independent Dutch media organisation BNNVARA on their documentary programme, Zembla. The 36-minute film show’s BNNVARA’s journalist Jos van Dongen travel to Telangana. He visits a number of sites around the manufacturing unit of the Indian pharmaceutical company Aurobindo.

...After the documentary was broadcast, Aurobindo Pharma BV and APL Healthcare Limited complained to the Dutch Council for Journalism. Aurobindo’s director, V. Muralidharan, travelled to the Netherlands to speak before the journalism council...

...In a 6,000 word reasoning, the council has said that “Zembla (BNNVARA) has handled journalism carefully,” without finding fault in the facts reported by this documentary, on the environment and health impacts of Aurobindo Pharma’s manufacturing sites.

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