- The UK activist group BUAV, which is running a campaign against alleged mistreatment of monkeys by Mauritian breeders, threatens afrol News with "legal consequences" over its reporting of the conflict.
Providing the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) with its right of early reply, afrol News hereby publishes the UK group's complaint to our media. The complaint is signed BUAV Chief Executive Michelle Thew:
This is deeply irresponsible journalism:
You have broken all journalistic convention by referring to a recalled statement. The whole point of recalling a statement is that it is not to be used. afrol News will be responsible for any legal consequences flowing from quoting from the recalled statement.
The article says: 'As with so many other campaigns by radical activists, it soon became clear that the only intention of the BUAV campaign was to give the group media attention and new paying members'. That is prejudiced opinion masquerading as journalism. It is also seriously defamatory of the BUAV. As an online publication, it is actionable around the world, including in the UK courts. There is not a shred of truth in the allegations. The objective of the BUAV campaign is to end the cruel and sordid trade in primates from Mauritius for the research industry, not somehow to enhance its own profile or attract new members (the BUAV is almost entirely a non-membership organisation).
The article also quotes Noveprim as suggesting that the BUAV 'may have provoked the incident [its employee throwing a monkey in the air] willingly to produce "shocking footage"'. That, too, is completely untrue and seriously defamatory'
The article also alleges - without any basis - that the BUAV is not interested in dialogue which could lead to the improvement of animal welfare in Mauritius. Our letter to the Prime Minister said that we would welcome a meeting and asked for a response. We also wrote to Government Ministers and we would welcome a dialogue with both Bioculture and Noveprim. Neither has bothered to contact us.
To be absolutely clear: we stand one hundred per cent behind the information we have made public.
afrol News editor Rainer Chr Hennig wants to add that our media stands fully behind its original article, which we hold is placed well within the Ethics Code of the Norwegian press, to which afrol News abides.
When it comes to the recalled statement, the editor points out that the whole situation of BUAV's issuing a press release based on a rumour of a statement issued by its counterpart in the conflict - which afrol News revealed in communication with the BUAV press officer - documents well the tactics used by BUAV in its aggressive campaign. The afrol News article in particular treated the aggression level of the BUAV campaign. BUAV's recalling of the statement after an afrol News reporter revealed its weakness could therefore not be taken seriously.
BUAV's threats of "legal consequences" and "UK courts", in afrol News' opinion, clearly demonstrate the aggressive tone in the group's campaign. "Let it be clear that afrol News will not be intimidated," editor Hennig comments.
BUAV is, of course, welcome to file a complaint with the Norwegian Press Association if the group maintains that the Norwegian Code of Ethics has not been respected.
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