Friends of the Earth (FoE) is refusing to back down over its claims that a case against the organisation had been dropped by the UK advertising watchdog.
FoE said it had met with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to challenge comments made by the regulator’s chief executive in an opinion piece yesterday.
ASA chief executive Guy Parker said FoE’s contention that the case against it had been dropped was “not an accurate reflection of what happened”.
The investigation related to complaints about an anti-fracking leaflet produced by FoE.
Trade body UK Onshore Oil and Gas and chemicals giant Ineos said the ASA had ultimately ruled that the leaflet was misleading.
But FoE denied that any such ruling had been delivered, saying the ASA had dropped the case.
Mr Parker said yesterday: “We told FoE that based on the evidence we’d seen, claims it made in its anti-fracking leaflet or claims with the same meaning cannot be repeated, and asked for an assurance that they wouldn’t be. FoE gave us an assurance to that effect.
“FoE has said we dropped the case. That’s not an accurate reflection of what’s happened. We thoroughly investigated the complaints we received and closed the case on receipt of the above assurance.
“Because of that, we decided against publishing a formal ruling, but plainly that’s not the same thing as dropping the case. Crucially, the claims under the microscope mustn’t reappear in ads, unless the evidence changes. Dropped cases don’t have that outcome.”
But an FoE spokesperson said Mr Parker’s comments did not “accurately reflect the agreement” the organisation reached with the ASA.
“Our chief executive, and legal advisor, have gone to the ASA this afternoon to speak with them and challenge this,” the spokesperson said.
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