Greenpeace accused of telling lies in advert: Watchdog bans anti-nuclear image

GREENPEACE was accused by the nuclear industry yesterday of telling 'blatant lies' after one of its fund-raising advertisements was banned for being innaccurate, in poor taste and offensive.

Following seven public complaints from around the country, including one from Cumbria where the nuclear reprocessing plant at Sellafield is sited, the Advertising Standards Authority has ordered the environmental campaign group to withdraw the offending advertisement and not repeat any of its claims.

The advertisement, which appeared in several national publications including the Independent, raised around pounds 70,000 in donations and featured a photograph of a baby with an enlarged head labelled 'Kazakhstan nuclear test victim'.

It claimed that '2,000 people will die because of the radioactive discharges from Sellafield over the next 10 years', and attacked the nuclear industry for being 'intent on spreading radiation and the means of mass destruction around the globe'.

After seeking expert advice, the authority did not accept that the child's condition, hydrocephalus, was caused by radiation. Questioning whether the child was a test victim at all, it ruled 'the use of the image to attract attention was inappropriate and in poor taste'.

Greenpeace's assertion that Sellafield would cause 2,000 deaths was 'a gross over-simplification', and had not been substantiated. The authority also described claims that the industry intended to spread radiation and mass destruction around the globe as 'unfounded and therefore capable of causing offence'.

An ASA spokeswoman said if Greenpeace repeats the allegations in future advertising, it could face an injunction.

Roger Hayes, director general of the British Nuclear Industry Forum, the industry's trade body, welcomed the ASA ruling. 'Nobody could have been unmoved by a picture of this child, but there was no truth in the claim that the child was a victim of radiation,' he said. 'Normally we work on a level playing field with our opponents in that we normally deal in facts. In democracies, people have the right to put their views across, but in this case they have used blatant lies.'

Adam Woolf, of Greenpeace, said the group was surprised by the ASA's reaction: 'We stand by our ad. There was an affidavit from the photographer stating that the doctor had said that the child's condition was due to nuclear testing in Kazakhstan.' He said the expert opinion the ASA canvassed was 'difficult to answer. Fifty years ago there were many experts who would be lined up and swear there was no link between smoking and bad health. Just because experts believe there is no proof does not mean it is not true.'

Last year the ASA rejected complaints about an anti- Sellafield Greenpeace poster which featured a pile of fluorescent excrement.

But in May, Greenpeace was forced to pay pounds 29,000 in costs to ICI after dropping a private prosecution against the company. The group had claimed that ICI's Wilton works on Teeside was the biggest polluter of the North Sea, but withdrew after accepting its analysis would not meet the standards required for a successful prosecution.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence