DAVOS (SWITZERLAND) – Friends of the Earth has challenged the World Economic Forum (WEF) to apologise for its statement of Saturday 25 January over an incident on Friday involving Tony Juniper, Vice Chair of Friends of the Earth International and Executive Director of Friends of the Earth England Wales and Northern Ireland (EWNI).
Friends of the Earth was shocked to read the statement that contains serious factual inaccuracies and is highly defamatory of both Tony Juniper and Friends of the Earth. The legal department of Friends of the Earth EWNI last night sent a letter before claim to the World Economic Forum calling on it to withdraw the statement and issue an apology by 9am Tuesday 28th January, failing which Friends of the Earth will consider itself fully justified in commencing legal proceedings against the WEF.
Tony Juniper is an accredited participant at the World Economic Forum meeting currently taking place in Davos, Switzerland. On Friday 24 January, Mr. Juniper sought to enter the Davos Congress Centre with a bag of letters addressed to the 170 world leaders and politicians inside the WEF. The WEF claims, including that Tony Juniper sought to evade security checks by ” not displaying the documents necessary to enter the Davos Congress Centre security zone”, that he “tried to break through a police control point” and that he “refused to identify himself or to let the police examine the contents of the bag” are entirely without foundation and are highly defamatory.
Phil Michaels, the head of the Friends of the Earth Legal Department in London said,
“The WEF’s claims about Tony Juniper’s behaviour are wrong and ridiculous. They do not even have the correct time of day when they claim the alleged incident took place. We will do all that is necessary and reasonable to defend our reputation and that of our Executive Director. We have demanded that a full retraction is issued by 9.00 am Tuesday 27th of January so that the damaging allegations can be withdrawn while the WEF Annual Meeting is still in progress.
“It is deeply ironic that at a WEF meeting entitled “Building Trust” , the organisation has chosen to publish an extraordinary, inaccurate and defamatory attack against the accredited representative of an organisation that is trusted and respected by over one million supporters worldwide”.
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
Friends of the Earth is asking any media present at the incident to keep copies of their tapes, and to contact Phil Michaels on the number below.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Phil Michaels (Legal Dept. in London): +44 20 7566 1725
Tony Juniper (in Davos) +44-(0) 7712 843 207
Craig Bennett (in Davos): +44-(0) 7810 558250