Voluntary Sector: Pop single helps propel Comic Relief to top spot

Comic Relief dominated March's NGO Watch, leading the monthly table for the first time.

The charity achieved 44 articles more than its nearest competitor, Oxfam, which dropped to second place.

Despite this, Oxfam still attracted 22 more mentions than in February, when it topped the table.

'Comic Relief provided some rare competition to the established NGO Watch leaders,' said Toby Lincoln, researcher at table compiler Infonic. Celebrity Fame Academy, comedian Peter Kay's number-one single and Stephen Fry's appearance on Radio 4 soap The Archers helped garner coverage for the BBC's bi-annual initiative.

The involvement of Oxfam and the Red Cross in disaster relief for those affected by the earthquake in Indonesia, combined with their continuing work in other countries affected by the December tsunami, provided heavy coverage.

While Amnesty International slipped down a position in March, its work highlighting the plight of women in Palestine meant it stayed in the top five.

Human Rights Watch's criticism of abuses in countries such as the Sudan, Nepal and Zimbabwe pushed it into the top five of the table for the first time this year.

Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace fell into the bottom half of the top ten. Both attracted attention for criticising the Government's environmental policy.

NGO WATCH - MARCH 2005 RANKING

Ranking NGO No of mentions

1 Comic Relief 147

2 Oxfam 103

3 Red Cross 75

4 Amnesty International 73

5 Human Rights Watch 70

6 Friends of the Earth 62

7 Cancer Research 56

8 Greenpeace 52

9 RSPB 50

10 Age Concern 43

Source: Infonic

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