Friends of the Earth tops NGO Watch with GM stories

Environmental pressure group Friends of the Earth has moved from third place to the top of the NGO Watch table for July, mainly due to its opposition to GM crops and the possible takeover of Safeway.

The charity has displaced last month’s top-placed group, the Red Cross organisations, which have slumped to third, indicating that issues such as human rights in Iraq may be moving down the agenda.

Friends of the Earth gained the top spot with 147 mentions in the national print and online media that were monitored by NGO Watch compilers Infonic.

Friends of the Earth’s high ranking was also achieved through its opposition to the Government’s announcement of road expansion.

Moving from fifth place to second, the RSPCA attracted 128 mentions for warning about the dangers of leaving animals in hot cars. But the charity also attracted more unwanted attention when the national media reported that RSPCA staff planned to take strike action over the possible closure of some of its offices.

Allegations that US soldiers in Iraq were failing to uphold human rights in their treatment of prisoners of war, coupled with the organisation’s participation in this summer’s Gay Pride activity to high-light human rights violations against homosexuals in Egypt, helped Amnesty International accumulate 122 mentions.

The publication of research showing that nine out of ten UK adults are worried about the risk to children from paedophiles gave the NSPCC a place in the NGO Watch table for the first time.

Infonic researcher Louise Speake said that overall for July, coverage was more spread out, with smaller NGOs gaining a higher share than usual.

An example she gives is the animal rights group PETA, which received 29 mentions. This was achieved in part through an endorsement by Sir Paul McCartney of its campaign against Kentucky Fried Chicken.

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