Friends of the Earth in top NGO Watch spot after Flybe fiasco

Friends of the Earth scooped top spot in this month's NGO Watch after it criticised airline Flybe for 'pointlessly damaging the atmosphere'.

According to the BBC, the criticism came after the airline admitted it had advertised for actors to fly between Norwich and Dublin to increase passenger numbers. Flybe had been attempting to avoid a £280,000 fine from Norwich airport if it did not carry 15,000 people on the route by 31 March. Friends of the Earth said Flybe's tactics were 'madness'.

'Friends of the Earth used budget airline Flybe's "ghost flights" to Dublin to raise awareness of the environmental effects of air travel,' said Lawrence Ampofo, spokesman for Infonic, which compiles NGO Watch.

The RSPCA was pushed off the top spot into second place this month. It commented extensively on the use of the whip in horse racing. According to The Times, the debate was sparked when two jockeys were fined and banned from riding after 'instances of whip abuse that... sullied the image of racing'. Meanwhile, the RSPB moved up four places into third after it released a report that concluded that the number of common birds has decreased in UK gardens.

The Citizens Advice Bureau shot into sixth place after it claimed that the number of people appealing for help with their mortgage repayments increased in 2008. The Scotsman reported that the figures also highlighted that one in ten home owners would miss a repayment during the coming year.

Amnesty International's appeal for China to abstain from using force against protesters in Tibet scored it seventh spot.

The Telegraph reported that the Chinese ambassador to the UK, Fu Ying, criticised the British media over their coverage of events in Tibet, claiming they had 'manipulated the use of photographs to tell a story of Chinese oppression'.

Amnesty International responded by appealing to the Chinese government to allow international media full access to the region.

NGO WATCH - MARCH 2008 RANKING
Ranking NGO No of mentions
1 Friends of the Earth 162
2 RSPCA 156
3 RSPB 154
4 Greenpeace 128
5 Age Concern 118
6 Citizens Advice Bureau 113
7 Amnesty International 109
8 Cancer Research 107
9 Red Cross 99
10 Macmillan Cancer Relief 78
Source: Infonic

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