FT pulls Amnesty's Shell advert at last minute

By staff writers
18 May 2010

Amnesty International UK has expressed its disappointment today at the Financial Times’ decision to pull a new hard-hitting advertisement at the last moment.

The ad was due to appear today as Shell held its London AGM.

The advertisement focused on the human rights record of Shell in Nigeria. It compared the company’s $9.8 billion profits with the consequences of pollution caused by the oil giant for the people of the Niger Delta.

Many investment funds have substantial shareholdings in the company. The Church of England also gives legitimacy to the company, having one of its largest shareholdings in Shell, despite its commitment to tackling climate change, human rights abuses and environmental destruction, and its ethical investment policy.

Numerous oil spills, which have not been adequately cleaned up, have left local communities with little option but to drink polluted water, eat contaminated fish, farm on spoiled land, and breathe in air that stinks of oil and gas.

Tim Hancock, Amnesty International UK’s campaigns director, said: “The decision by the Financial Times is extremely disappointing. We gave them written reassurances that we would take full responsibility for the comments and opinions stated in the advertisement.

“Both The Metro and The Evening Standard had no problems with running the ad.”

Tim Hancock added: “The money to pay for the advertisements came entirely from more than 2,000 individuals online, who we’d asked to fund an ad campaign targeting Shell’s AGM – and it really caught their imagination. And I am sure these supporters will share with us our sense of deep disappointment.”

Amnesty International also today launched a new hard-hitting online video focusing on Shell’s illegal practice of gas flaring (the burning of gas produced as part of oil extraction) in the same region. Gas flaring is only serving to add to environmental impact on the people of the Niger Delta, it says.

[Ekk/2]

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