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ThE MaStEr

Channel 4 slammed over environmental doc


BroadcastingA leading American environmentalist has criticised Channel 4 over a forthcoming documentary that allegedly misrepresents his opinions.

Speaking to The Guardian, sustainability consultant Adam Werbach claimed that the producers of What The Green Movement Got Wrong failed to inform him of the documentary's nature before he agreed to contribute.

After seeing the film, Werbach believes that the way his contribution has been portrayed fails to reflect his actual views. He wants the contribution edited out of the programme, or he will consider making a formal complaint to media regulator Ofcom after transmission.

Scheduled to air on Thursday evening, the documentary is claimed to feature a series of environmental advocates who now argue that the green lobby should embrace certain science and technology that it previously opposed, such as nuclear energy and GM Foods.

The programme, created by Darlow Smithson, will be followed on Channel 4 by a live studio debate chaired by Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy.

Werbach claimed that the 90-minute film "misrepresents who is to blame for many of our social and environmental problems".

He said that Darlow Smithson claimed that the documentary would focus on the ideas of Stewart Brand, author of The Whole Earth Catalogue, but the final film turned out to be much different.

"They told me they were doing a documentary about the ideas of Stewart Brand, who is a friend of mine, and looking at other inspiring ideas and new ways to protect the planet," he said.

"They didn't tell me that it was basically about nuclear reactors and genetically modified foods. They first referred to the film as the 'Stewart Brand documentary' and then they called it the 'New Environmentalists'."

He added: "I don't feel the film accurately represents my opinions, which leaves me uncomfortable. I'd rather not be part of it. Being critical of the environmental movement is important to make the environmental movement better. But to attack the environmental movement for thousands or millions of deaths in Africa is far beyond anything I believe.

"I'm upset that I was not told the proper title of this film. I would rather my contribution was edited out of the programme."

A Channel 4 spokesperson denied that Werbach had been misled about the nature of the documentary, or that his opinions have been misrepresented.

"The correspondence with Adam Werbach clearly and accurately describes the basis for the film as the eco-pragmatist thesis of environmentalist Stewart Brand," they said.

"It was made clear that the different titles for the project at the outset were working titles. There was no intention to deceive him, the final title was only chosen and confirmed at the time of billing [two weeks ago]."

Environmental charities Greenpeace and Friends Of The Earth have also attacked What The Green Movement Got Wrong on grounds that it is misleading and could spread misinformation.

In 2008, Ofcom ruled that Channel 4's The Great Global Warming Swindle treated scientific contributors unfairly and was not sufficiently impartial after receiving numerous complaints about the film


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BroadcastingA leading American environmentalist has criticised Channel 4 over a forthcoming documentary that allegedly misrep





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