Charity defends running advertisements on GB News channel

The conservation charity WWF-UK has defended running advertisements on the controversial new TV channel GB News after criticism on social media. 

A number of people on Twitter questioned whether the channel's output was compatible with the wildlife conservation organisation’s charitable aims. 

Within 48 hours of the channel’s launch on Sunday, a number of advertisers had announced they were withdrawing their campaigns.

As of yesterday, 11 companies had paused or suspended their campaigns, saying either they disagreed with the channel’s values or wanted to wait longer before assessing the tone of its output.

WWF-UK said this particular booking was made via its media buying agency.

It said that when it ran ad campaigns the charity agreed the parameters for the audiences it wanted to reach with the agency, which then selected the channel mix that will reach that audience. 

A spokesperson for WWF-UK said: “Fighting the climate and nature crisis is going to need everyone. If we’re serious about saving the planet, our messages cannot be restricted to certain media outlets. 

“We want to reach as broad an audience as possible with WWF’s authoritative, evidence-based information, which means engaging all UK media in our efforts to tackle the climate and nature emergency.”

The boycott was triggered by campaign group Stop Funding Hate.

In response to the boycott, Andrew Neil, the channel’s chairman and a presenter, issued a statement to those groups encouraging brands to stop advertising on the channel.

In a more than 12-minute monologue, he asked those companies boycotting the channel for peddling hate: “What on earth are you talking about?” He then refered to several of its regional stories, which he claimed would not have otherwise been reported on other new channels, adding: “Not a scintilla of hate in any of them.” 

Neil accused advertising executives of “taking the knee” to the “fringe group” SFH and accused the campaign group of being “full of far-left agitators and cranks”.

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