Third Battle of Newbury

P.O. BOX 5520, Newbury, Berks. RG14 7YW.

Tel: 01635 45544 Fax: 01635 45545 24 hr info: 01635 550552

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Immediate release Tuesday November 5th 1996


Environmental awards tainted?

Media Natura, the self-styled environmental media group, will this evening be presenting a number of awards to groups or individuals who have contributed to furthering environmental issues. Today, in a letter to Media Natura's Chairman Mr John Grey, The Third Battle of Newbury are asking the position of board member Mr Simon Bryceson to be reviewed with a view to his resignation.

Two of the four groups short listed for the Andrew Lees award - for outstanding campaigning work in the past year are the Third Battle of Newbury and Ploughshares[1]. Both groups have recently learnt of the presence of Mr Simon Bryceson on the board of Media Natura.

Simon Bryceson is also employed as Senior Counsellor in Public Affairs with Burson-Marsteller, a public relations company, which is known for orchestrating anti-environment campaigns and "greenwash" for corporate clients including also various oppressive regimes. Burson-Marsteller's dubious clientele and 'achievements' are documented in Andrew Rowell's book 'Green Backlash' [2].

The Third Battle of Newbury are asking for Media Natura to review Mr Bryceson's position with a view to resigning his position if the allegations are substantiated. The Third Battle of Newbury believe Mr Bryceson's apparent position is wholly irreconcilable with the objectives of the environment movement. Furthermore The Third Battle believes this conflict of interest diminishes the perceived value of the Media Natura awards.

A spokesperson for the Third Battle of Newbury said

"If the allegations about Simon Bryceson are correct then Media Natura's image is at best tarnished. How can someone who is employed by a company which allegedly helps regimes get away with murder have any true concern for people and their environment? This smacks of hypocrisy and careerism, as opposed to true environmental concern" ENDS



Media Natura's Award Ceremony starts 7.15 p.m. at the Mayfair Hotel, Crystal Room, London W1. Press liaison (Andrew Wood) at Awards:

[1] The Third Battle of Newbury are campaigning against the Newbury Bypass and for sustainable transport for the people of Newbury and this country as a whole. Ploughshares are campaigning against the arms trade e.g the repression of the people of East Timor by the Indonesian Government, including the sale of arms, most notably Hawk Jets by British Aerospace to the Indonesian Government.

[2] Andrew Rowell's book 'Green Backlash' (Routledge, June 1996) page 116 onwards, alleges that:

Burson-Marsteller, list among their clients:

* General Videla in 1976

Helped improve Argentina's world image, in a regime responsible for the disappearance and torture of thousands of political prisoners

* Union Carbide in 1984

Damage limitation in the aftermath of the Bhopal disaster

* Pro-timber groups in 1992

helped scupper environmental proposals at Rio

* Malaysian Timber Industry Development Council (responsible for indiscriminate logging in Sarawak) in 1996

* Indonesian Government (responsible for the genocide in East Timor) in 1996