Ineos accused of buying the media after blocking fracking critic

Director interview plans cancelled as Ineos buy media perks for shale gas event 

CHEMICALS CORPORATION INEOS has faced criticism over its public relations blitz marking the arrival of a shipload of shale gas at its Grangemouth refinery.  

Ineos, whose revenue is over $50bn a year, has a vessel arranged for the country’s media to watch the arrival of US shale gas - the first such delivery to the UK. 

However, the company’s media handling has prompted criticism - as environmentalism Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said he was barred from being interviewed by the BBC on the vessel. 

“For some reason, they didn’t want me on board…So Ineos got to decide who the BBC talked to.” Richard Dixon

In a post about the event, Dixon said: “Initially invited to join BBC Breakfast on the Forth to contribute live comments on Ineos fracking ship arriving but turned out that it was Ineos who chartered the tourist boat and, for some reason, they didn’t want me on board…So Ineos got to decide who the BBC talked to.”

MSP Andy Wightman raised concerns that this represented a “surrender editorial control to Ineos” by the BBC.

The claim follows revelations from investigative group The Ferret that Ineos’ PR firm planned dining and a hotel stay with journalists at up-market Edinburgh venues prior to the media event. 

Anti-fracking groups raise alarm as Ineos US gas shipments arrive at Grangemouth

Campaigner Stephen Dedalus said that “journalists were wined, dined, put up at 4 star hotel and taken to report favourably on Ineos”.

The media event follows years of campaigning for a full ban on fracking. Campaigners succeeded in pressuring the government to introduce a fracking moratorium, while further research takes place. 

The government chose not to attend the Ineos event, offending its billionaire owned Jim Ratcliffe.

At the event Ratcliffe admitted to the BBC that the industry was “not perfect” and does face “occasional” environmental incidents.

Mark Ruskell MSP, Climate & Energy spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, said: “Greens have stood with communities from the outset, and proposed parliament’s first ban on fracking. We will continue to keep up the pressure and show that Ineos’ bullish behaviour is utterly misplaced.”

Ineos did not respond to a request to comment about the media dispute. 

Picture courtesy of John McSporran

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