NGOs push whaling up media agenda

Anti-whaling NGOs, frustrated that the issue is still not high on the news agenda, this week promised to excite a 'bored' national press.

Whales: NGO row
Whales: NGO row

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), Greenpeace and IFAW are all using the 60th meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), taking place throughout this week, to put the issue front of mind.

'We have a sophisticated media that are quite bored with the issue unless something dramatically new happens,' said Greenpeace oceans campaigner William MacKenzie. 'There are short spikes of interest such as the IWC meeting.'

The WSPA's UK media relations manager Katherine Mansell agreed. 'Traditionally it has been difficult to publicise the issue in the press because there is no clear UK angle. But each year the IWC meeting is an absolute political and media bun-fight,' she said.

This year the WSPA has concentrated on getting the public to write letters to the embassies of pro-whaling countries Japan, Iceland and Norway, highlighting the financial worth of whale watching as opposed to whale hunting.

The NGOs had teams on the ground in Chile to lobby delegates and target journalists. WSPA displayed life-size pictures of whales, which it sold into picture desks.

Watch Ian Beaumont of Bowel Cancer UK discuss how to engage the media at prweek.com/uk.

Picture credit: Bryant Austin/www.studiocosmos.com

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