Greenpeace takes top slot with Big Ben stunt

Greenpeace has stormed to the top of the NGO Watch table after two protesters scaled Big Ben during an anti-war march – stealing much of the media attention with a well-judged publicity stunt.

Media coverage of Greenpeace rocketed in March with international, national and local media mentioning the protesters as part of their wider coverage of the anti-war rally, knocking the Red Cross into second place.

The humanitarian efforts of the Red Cross and continued media interest in ‘the war on terror’ helped to maintain its strong showing in the table as it continued to play a prominent role in the debate over the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

And in the aftermath of the Madrid bombing, a Spanish Red Cross representative came to London to back calls for the Government to include NGOs in UK emergency planning.

Amnesty International remained in the top three when it criticised PM Tony Blair’s visit to Libya, drawing attention to the country’s poor human rights record including the disappearance of prisoners, use of the death penalty and intolerance of political activity.

But the high volume of media coverage given to the Greenpeace stunt pushed Cancer Research out of the top three for the first time in many months. During the month, it highlighted skin cancer as a potential time bomb for young people, and called for under-16s to be banned from using sunbeds.

Calls by Friends of the Earth for councils to boost the UK’s poor recycling record generated much media coverage, as well as its welcoming of the decision by Bayer CropScience to shelve plans to grow GM maize commercially in the UK.

In the ongoing asylum debate, Human Rights Watch accused EU members of ignoring recommendations from international experts in drawing up asylum rules.

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