Red Cross regains healthy lead in the NGO Watch table

The Red Cross organisations have returned to the top place in the NGO Watch table for August, leading by a considerable margin, after developments at the agency’s operations in Iraq.

The decision to withdraw workers and scale down operations in the country followed the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad.

Relief agencies were warned that they and other ‘soft targets’ could be hit next, and the Red Cross said it had received specific threats against its staff.

The other story to gain the organisation almost double the number of mentions of the second-placed organisation in the table – the RSPCA – was the involvement of the Red Cross in investigations into the number of deaths across Europe caused by the recent heatwave.

The British Red Cross acting head of media and PR Clare Finnigan said the agency’s work in Liberia during the conflict was another issue that had received high levels of media attention. ‘The Red Cross is just one of three agencies that are continuing to work in the region,’ she said.

For the survey, Infonic looks at coverage of NGO campaigning and advocacy in UK regional, national, and online media. It does not include broadcast coverage.

The RSPCA’s 134 mentions were spread across three key stories, putting the animal charity in second place for the second month running.

These were when the trade union Amicus balloted RSPCA employees over strike action after the NGO revealed plans to cut 300 jobs.

Its campaign to keep pets cool during the hot weather also created coverage as did a high-profile cruelty case in which a man allegedly gate-crashed a children’s barbeque and bit the head off a kitten in front of horrified party-goers .

Amnesty International figured high in the table when the human rights group argued that Rwandan opposition leader Faustin Twagiramungu had been banned from campaigning in the country’s first ‘democratic’ elections since 1994.

July’s highest placed NGO, Friends of the Earth (FoE) slipped down to fifth place, with only 100 mentions in August, mostly surrounding its campaign in Wales calling for all local councils to declare themselves GM-free.

It also gained coverage for its league table of coal-fired power stations as part of a ‘name and shame’ exercise designed to expose the UK’s worst climate polluters.

Cancer Research beat FoE to fourth place with news that research had shown aspirin could be used successfully to treat certain cancers .

Those that narrowly missed out on a top-ten placing include the RSPB and the NSPCC.

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