NGO Watch: Social disruption raises Red Cross media profile

Violence in Haiti, the recent earthquake in Morocco and controversy over Israel’s security fence meant human rights issues dominated media coverage in February, driving the Red Cross and Amnesty International to the top positions in the NGO Watch table for the second time this year.

The organisations garnered exposure for sending aid workers to civil war-torn Haiti and highlighting the presence among rebel leaders of former soldiers implicated in past human rights abuses.

The Red Cross attracted particular attention when it launched a fresh appeal for £1.3m worth of aid for Moroccan earthquake victims and backed the UN’s calls for Israel to take down its contentious barrier. Human rights further commanded the NGO agenda after Amnesty International and Oxfam published a report claiming Tony Blair had misled MPs over arms exports.

Cancer Research stayed in the top three after scientists discovered a gene that might cause bladder cancer. Age Concern claimed one in four women over the age of 60 was suffering extreme hardship due to low state pensions.

Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth dramatically increased their number of press mentions by attacking the Government. Greenpeace demanded access to advice given to ministers before the Iraq war as part of its defence of war protesters.

Friends of the Earth accused the Government of caving in to the biotech industry after leaked documents suggested ministers plan to allow the commercial growth of genetically modified maize.

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